Big pub chain follows Wetherspoons and confirms plans to reopen 700 venues on April 1…


Bosses at of one of Britain’s biggest breweries have announced 700 of their beer gardens will reopen next month for al-fresco dining and drinking.

Marston’s Brewery revealed that 70 per cent of its venues across England would be open for business from April 12, reports the MailOnline.

The 696 pubs will be offering an outdoor table service and customers will be able to use toilets and baby-changing facilities.

It comes after the Government said it was slashing red tape to allow pubs and bars to put up marquees without having to apply for planning permission.

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The 696 pubs will be offering an outdoor table service

Whitehall figures suggest the move will allow 9,000 additional venues to open next month rather than having to wait for indoor serving in May.

In another major boost, venues with pavement access can put out tables and chairs for dining without having to go through the tedious public consultation process that usually takes weeks.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “I’m allowing every pub in the country to erect a marquee in their garden for the whole summer as a one-off power to support our locals.

“As we move to the next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown we are all looking forward to being reunited with friends and family outdoors and making a safe and happy return to our favourite shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.

Venues with pavement access can put out tables and chairs for dining

“As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we’ve been missing so much.”

Restaurants and pubs will be allowed to serve customers again outside from April 12 in England. They will then be given the green light to offer indoor seating from May 17, providing specific Covid conditions are met. Restrictions are due to be totally relaxed by June 21.

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As part of the new rules coming into place from April, the hated 10pm curfew has been scrapped and customers won’t have to buy a ‘substantial meal’ when they order an alcoholic drink.

They will have to drink at a table though, and wear facemasks when they are not sitting down.

Josh Green, of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “It’s good news for pubs, as we move towards the outdoor reopening, that rules around outdoor spaces will be more relaxed, particularly given the vagaries of April weather.

“We would urge the Government and local councils to work with publicans in ensuring that as many people as possible are able to enjoy a pint in the glorious Great British pub in April and beyond.”

Ralph Findlay, chief executive of Marston’s, which has 1,400 pubs in Britain, said: “We are delighted we can reopen many of our pubs, but can’t wait until all our pubs can serve customers again.

Employees carry trays of refreshments as members of the public enjoy their first drink
Staff can expect to be busy with tables fully booked for months

“The resilience of our managers and partners during this time has been admirable and we look forward to safely reuniting friends and family.”

Pubs will also be allowed to sell takeaway pints from April 12, which had previously been banned.

There are around 45,000 pubs in England, 43 per cent of them with an outdoor area of some kind.

The 10pm curfew that was introduced as part of the regional tier restrictions in September has also been scrapped.

People enjoy a drink outside a pub in Camden in central London
Drinkers will be able to visit pubs with gardens from April 12

And the so-called ‘Scotch Egg rule’ – under which alcohol could only be served with a substantial meal – will not be backing a comeback.

Bosses at brewing giant Young’s will reopen 140 of their pubs, while Wetherspoon is also planning to serve at 394 of their venues.

Pubs in Scotland are set to open around April 26 – but there’s still been no official announcement for Wales or Northern Ireland.

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