Brits forced to pick between pub or barbers first as Magic Monday arrives

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Thirsty Brits face a tough choice on Monday… hit the pub or go to the barbers.

How about have a drink first followed by the hair of the dog on Tuesday?

It comes as Brits are set to toast the re-opening of the nation’s pubs with a 45million pint booze bender.

That is how much ale is sitting in cellars waiting to quench the thirst of desperate drinkers who have been locked out of their locals for the past four months.

Up to 15,000 pubs will throw open their doors for the first time since before Christmas when they were ordered to shut to combat coronavirus.

Many landlords have built outdoor bars and beer gardens so they can re-open under Boris Johnson’s road map out of lockdown.

Industry experts reckon 40% of pubs can comply with outdoor-only service rules and will be back in business today.

Buoyed by a Health Protection Surveillance Centre study which found only one in 1,000 Covid cases had been contracted outdoors many landlords say they are booked up for months.

Jackie Fairburn said she is more excited about the re-opening of The Hare & Hounds in West Ardsley, West Yorks, than when she was handed the keys to the pub five years ago.

“We are all systems go,’’ she said. “I just can’t wait to open. It’s been so long.

“This relaunch is like starting a new business all over again. But actually this is a much bigger deal – it has to work.’’

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Jackie has transformed her pub using scaffolding planks to build a replica of the bar in the garden.

All 70 tables have been moved outdoors and are spread out in a socially distanced formation across three marquees and the garden.

She has rigged up four TVs outside, brought in heaters and warming rugs to combat the cold and adapted the pub’s menu so she can serve pizzas from a wood-fired oven, hot roast beef sandwiches, jacket potatoes and sharing platters.

“It was a wilderness out there really – we never utilised it,’’ said Jackie. “It’ll be the first time they’ve been to the pub since it closed on November 4 so I thought they’d like to see all its familiar furniture.

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“We are going to be a bigger pub in the garden than we were in total before the lockdown.’’

The Prince of Peckham in south London has recruited "quite a lot of new staff" to deal with the expected rush today, according to events manager Rohie Njie.

It has extended its patio area into the pavement of Peckham High St with the permission of the council and erected a temporary roof with scaffolding.

Rohie fears some of the younger clientele might get carried away.

“People haven’t been out for so long some of them are going to forget their limits,’’ he said.

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“I just hope it stays safe.

“But I do think people will go a lot crazier than normal.’’

Alex Tipping has created an outdoor oyster-and-wine bar and is planning a spring market at The Fountain pub in Ashurst, West Sussex.

Mr Johnson said: “I’m sure it will be a huge relief for those business owners who have been closed for so long, and for everyone else it’s a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed,” Mr Johnson said.

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“I urge everyone to continue to behave responsibly and remember ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ to suppress Covid as we push on with our vaccination programme.”

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said landlords have invested £500m to make venues safe during the pandemic.

“It has been a long hard year for people in the sector,’’ she said.

“They have adapted. They have lived on the edge. Some are hanging on by finger tips.

“We welcome the great news that our pubs can re-open once more for outdoor service.

“That first pint back in the beer garden is going to be a special moment.

“People across the country have been looking forward to it for months.”

Betting shops in England and Wales open tomorrow (Monday).

There will be no live sports pictures, no chairs and a maximum of two gaming machines allowed to be switched on when betting shops open on Monday, while customers will be limited to a maximum of two visits per day and shops will close at 8pm.

The number of customers allowed in a shop will depend on its size up to a maximum of eight and there will also be a limit on the time they are able to stay in a shop.

  • Boris Johnson
  • Pubs
  • Christmas
  • London
  • Lockdown
  • Coronavirus

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