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When the pubs re-open – a call to the branch membership

Written by Les Middlewood

As the Covid-19 coronavirus takes its grim course through the population Britain’s pub culture has all but been closed down in attempts to challenge the virus and to reduce its awful effect. Of course, some enterprising and community-spirited pubs and breweries have found welcome innovative ways to provide beer and food to their local towns and villages. A list of these can be found on CAMRA’s Pulling Together and Beer2You websites. But it’s just not the same as a pint with friends down at the local, is it? We want our pubs back. And we need your help. Please read on.

In recent days there have been Government-led announcements which have begun to unlock some of the strict measures that have been in place for over two months. So far this hasn’t stretched to a re-opening of pubs but hints of that day have been made. Dare we hope that that day will come soon so that summer can be enjoyed with a pint in a Hertfordshire local or rural pub.

We are being forewarned that life in pubs will not initially be the same as in pre-virus days. Social distancing and health and safety measures will prevail for some time, perhaps months, and pub businesses are carefully watching for a green light and the terms and conditions that will apply.

There have been warnings from the pub trade that many pubs may not re-open and some not immediately if rules are too onerous to make it worthwhile. And time will tell to what extent drinkers will feel comfortable to returning to pubs while the virus is still in circulation.

But CAMRA is keen and poised to do whatever it can to get behind pubs and breweries as they negotiate this difficult time and are allowed to re-open.

In South Herts we want to be in the vanguard of providing this help. Naturally we can inform members of progress, can re-introduce Pints of View and provide website and social media updates but to do this we will require all members to play a part. We will attempt to utilise media links.

Once a re-opening of pubs is permitted, we aim to visit all South Herts pubs in a fortnight or so to find out what each pub is doing – restrictions, hours of opening, availability of real ale, their own plans for future weeks etc. Our Branch area has about 300 pubs and clubs so this is a tough task but we have 2500 branch members and hopefully we are all in this to see our pub and brewery pub scene up and running and as vibrant and thriving as it can be at the various stages of re-opening. In the lead-in to the re-opening date and at an appropriate time, we will email all members who have allowed email contact in their communication preferences, to ask them for information on their local pubs, be they open, partially open or still closed. The email will include simple instructions on how to do this.

We will then compile a list of where we are to keep members abreast of developments, use our available avenues to promote the pubs as widely as we can and update WhatPub with each pub’s current details. Our Branch Brewery Liaison Officers will be in direct contact with our local breweries and we will do our best to spread news of what they are offering and how and where their beers can be obtained.

In the meantime, we wish all of you good health and look forward to the moment where we can again meet to drink some great cask-conditioned ale. Please watch for our forthcoming emails – we hope you will agree to play a part in helping us to help our pubs.

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