The dullest spring on record is officially over. Pubs and sport in England are back, baby!
If you’re lucky enough to be able to head out this weekend, there are a few things you need to be aware of.
Here are the key bits of admin to consider before heading out and some tips on ensuring you come home from the pub feeling like a legend, regardless of the result.
Despite lockdown relaxing this weekend, there are plenty of bars who are not ready to open yet.
Some pubs will be unable due to social distancing requirements, some who previously showed sport will no longer do so and, regretfully, some have closed permanently as a result of the pandemic.
We suggest doing this intel as early as possible. Why? Because…
With restrictions on capacity and social distancing rules in place, many pubs are operating a booking only system to manage numbers.
Also, be prepared to give all the names of the people in your group when booking. This isn’t time for foil hats and getting your GDPR high horse, however. M16 aren’t secretly compiling a database of big-time pint legends.
Pubs are being asked where possible to track who comes through their premises. This means people can be notified in the case of a local outbreak that saw someone infected visit the venue.
Think of it this way. If there’s a chance you had the disease, you’d want to know about it.
I get that this one’s a bit of a hard sell, but hear me out…
Basically, one of the main ways that Covid-19 passes from person to person is what’s called ‘aerosol transmission’. This means it travels on tiny droplets of water emitted whenever we cough, sneeze, speak and even breathe. Inconvenient yes, but manageable if we remain distant and think about our behaviour.
Knowing this, consider it your civic duty to avoid howling at the TV, chanting or leading a mass singalong at full time this weekend.
I know it’s hard to bury a lifetime’s worth of learned behaviour but try to remember the logic at play here when you stand, ready to punch the moon out of the sky and cover a mate in furious spit over a ropey VAR decision.
Remember, screaming at televisions doesn’t make you a better fan. It makes you look like you need therapy. And Mike Dean definitely can’t hear you calling him a bellend - he’s literally hundreds of miles away and operating in his own metaphysical reality regardless.
In light of the aerosol transmission problem, pubs have been advised to keep things like music and TV volumes low, so as not to create an environment where people are shouting to hear each other.
Pubs have been advised by the government to help control the spread of Covid-19 by requesting customers remain seated where possible. For some venues, this will mean mandatory table service.
A crying shame if you love nothing more than working off your pint with a few laps of the bar whilst you drink it. For everyone else, sit back relax and revel in the rare luxury of having every pint brought to you.
Toilets are almost certainly going to be a bottleneck in lots of pubs. In short, prepare to queue.
If you’re a bloke, consider it a brief taste of what being a woman is like 100% of the time and then count your blessings.
Whilst we are back in the pub, things will be new and different for the foreseeable future. And frankly, plenty of those changes will be a pain in the arse compared to life pre-Covid.
Just remember, any rules and regulations are in place for a reason. No landlord has spent the week painstakingly measuring the distances between each table in their pub for a massive laugh or performed hours of health and safety risk assessments because they’ve got a hard-on for admin.
Any new policies as a result of Covid-19 are to keep you and the staff as safe as possible. If someone asks you to keep your distance, do it. No questions asked.
Even if you don’t care about the virus, believe you’re immune or whatever, try to remember you’re sharing a space with people who just want to watch the game with a pint and not get ill.
What’s being asked of people’s behaviour in return for re-opening pubs really again isn’t a huge impingement.
So be sound and have a cracking weekend. My god, we’ve all earned it.
Unable to make it out to the pub? Our new Sports TV Guide contains all the info you need to catch the action at home - whatever the game, whatever the channel.