Pre-booking and Caution Encouraged as Reading’s Pubs, Bars and Restaurants Prepare to Reopen

PUBS, BARS AND RESTAURANTS in Reading are reopening from Saturday 4 July, with visitors being urged to be sensible and stay safe due to the reduced number of establishments open and lower capacity at each one.

Reading Borough Council, Thames Valley Police, Reading UK and Pubwatch have united to ensure people know what to expect if coming in to Reading, advising them to book a table at their chosen pub to avoid disappointment and ensure that they follow social distancing guidance both inside the venue and around the town, including its pedestrian one-way systems.

Bill Donne from Reading Pubwatch said: “Only around half of Reading’s town centre pubs will be open on Saturday, and due to COVID-19 restrictions around social distancing most will be operating at 35-40% capacity. If you can’t book a table in advance you should seriously consider whether it is worth trying to get in”.

Reading Borough Council and Reading UK are encouraging potential pub-goers to make their journey count this weekend by checking first if the pub they wish to visit will be open by clicking here https://livingreading.co.uk/map-food-and-drink, and also to contact their chosen venue in advance to book a table and check on details for their visit.

Advice for those considering visiting a pub this weekend includes:

·       Pre-book your table in advance – not all venues will be open and those that are will be operating on a limited capacity

·       Venues may be open on limited hours and may close earlier than normal

·       All venues will be table service only, though ordering will vary between waiter service, apps or ordering at the bar

·       All guests must have valid ID and be prepared to share their contact details-track and trace

·       Guest must adhere to the social distancing measures in place

·       Many venues will prefer contactless payments

·       No large groups above 6 people will be permitted, and only two households can sit at a table inside a venue (the 6 can be made up of more households if sat outside)

With licensed premises reopening following over three months of closure, an increased police presence across Reading will engage with and support local businesses, and where necessary take early action to prevent crime and disorder. Thames Valley Police is working closely with the venues and Reading Borough Council to ensure Reading is a safe place to visit.

Although the First Stop Service, a night time urgent care, health and wellbeing service in the town centre, will not be operating this weekend, South Central Ambulance Service will continue to provide cars in the Reading area to reduce Accident & Emergency admissions, and will respond to support Street Pastors where possible.

Reading Borough Council Leader Jason Brock said:

It has been a difficult time in many ways for the people of Reading recently, and the easing of lockdown restrictions to firstly permit non-essential shops, and now pubs, bars and restaurants, to reopen is allowing us to return to some form of normal. The night-time economy will, however, be very different from what it looked like pre-lockdown. To ensure everybody’s safety, and keep our recovery from COVID-19 going in the right direction, please book in advance and follow all rules and regulations in place both inside and outside venues”

Chief Superintendent Christian Bunt, Head of Local Policing said: “After over three months of social restrictions, we understand that people will want to go out and enjoy themselves when lockdown restrictions ease further on Saturday (4/7).

“As with any expected busy weekend, Thames Valley Police has a comprehensive plan in place with officers visible in our cities and town centres, as well as extra resources and officers available to respond to any disorder or criminality, wherever they are needed.

“We are also working with local authorities and licensees to support their plans to manage the number of people out and about.

“We would also ask that people are mindful of the potential impact they could have on the emergency services and urge people to drink responsibly.

“We want everyone to have a great time and enjoy themselves but please stay safe and adhere to the public health measures in place to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.”

John Phillips

For media enquiries about this release email john.phillips@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 9372 333