“We’re keen to avoid a big reopening celebration,” says Langley. “It’s all about getting the place open and ensuring our local community can be confident that Dartmouth Arms is a safe and enjoyable environment for them to be.”
Amid mounting concerns, Prime Minister Johnson has also rolled back his earlier bullishness. He told the LBC radio station: “I hope people will do this safely and sensibly. My message is let’s not blow it now, folks.”
Others, too, have urged everyone to take it easy. A joint statement by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and several hospitality organizations asked pub-goers to be supportive of staff. “It’s important everyone respects the new measures in place to ensure everyone can enjoy the return of our pubs safely.”
The consequences of unruly or risky behavior could be a second wave of coronavirus cases, just as the UK appears to be bringing the virus under control. Beyond the pandemic, it could have consequences for the future of pubs themselves and the community lifelines they offer. Many wouldn’t survive a second lockdown.