Pockets of groups of 8+ revellers saunter down the streets of Warrington, North West England. In truth, it could be anywhere in the country today, as the lock-down imposed pub ban is officially lifted.

Pubs re-opening gives glimpse of new normal

There are revellers keeping on the move due to the general 3 drink minimum restrictions. Shoppers clutch their face masks, displaying a visible unease that is all happening a little too quickly, for their liking. This is the first glimpse of what the "new normal" will be like. Pictures of Prince William enjoying a pint of cider in a country pub will have spurred people on to try their first public pint in a while.

The atmosphere around the vicinity of pubs seemed to be one of relief. People seem to be taking this as a sign that things are getting back to normal. The positive mental health considerations must be factored in when considering this viewpoint, against the obvious scientific evidence that this pandemic is far from over.

Scientific worry clouds pub re-opening day

Professor Chris Whitty is Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, used the press conference to warn that:

"(Pubs') principal job is to bring people together - that's a great thing to do socially, but it's also a great thing from the virus' point of view. Therefore, we do have to have a really clear and really disciplined approach to try to maintain social distancing, whilst also enjoying pubs."

Clear signage and sanitisation stations, were prevalent in the vicinity of public houses the country over.

However, the appeal of pubs in a lot of instances comes from their cosiness, something that flies in the face of social distancing. Today represents the dipping of a toe into the ocean that is the new, post-COVID-19 normal.

Some pubs not yet ready to take the plunge

According to the BBC website, around 31% of bars elected not to open.

Some are worried that there is a number that may never re-open.

It is difficult to criticise pubs for taking the first opportunity to generate revenue in over three months. This is even more understandable given the estimation by sciencedirect.com suggests that tourism and hospitality account for 109 million jobs worldwide; contributing $2.3 trillion to the global economy.

This amounts to 10.2% of the world’s GDP. The industry is going to play no small part in any post-pandemic economic recovery.

1 meter social distance ruling still a push in some pubs

Press pictures, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds suggests that there is no way that 2-meter distancing would have worked in pubs or coffee shops, as some patrons were clearly struggling to adhere to the 1-meter ruling. A lack of any major incidents suggests that today will be seen as a success for the hospitality industry, as it grapples with a post-lock-down reality.