The return of fun
Non-essential businesses are making plans to reassure customers
Streaming services have replaced the cinema. Online shopping is standing in for the high street. Restaurant food is being home-delivered. And the ol’ Horse and Groom has become the Horse and Zoom, as people take to video-chatting with friends while sipping from a can of lager. It is, pubgoers have discovered, a poor substitute for the real thing. As Nick Mackenzie of Greene King, which runs 2,700 pubs, puts it: “The point of the pub is to socialise.”
流媒体服务取代了电影院。线上购物正在取代商业街。餐馆的食物正在送货上门。而且Horse and Groom旅店已经变成了the Horse and Zoom，因为人们一边小口抿着啤酒，一边和朋友视频聊天。酒吧客们发现它很难取代真实的事情。正如经营2700家Greene King酒吧的尼克·麦肯齐所言：“酒吧的意义在于社交。”
The boozer was among the first casualties of Britain’s lockdown, with pubs ordered to close three days before the rest of the country. Along with other non-essential leisure venues, they will probably be the last to reopen, too. Evidence from countries now opening up suggests that such businesses will have to wait a few weeks longer than everyone else. Those in Britain are using the extra time to plan how to operate when they are allowed to welcome customers once more.
The task is particularly tricky for publicans. The very social distancing measures that save lives also kill the vibe: nobody wants to go to an empty pub. Larger pubs are planning to space out tables, reduce the number of occupants and offer takeaway pints and roasts. Independent pubs can start selling other things, such as groceries. One, the Red Lion in Ealing, is already offering Italian cheese, olives and ham, as well as sourdough breads. Those of all sizes will have to make a show of good hygiene. Expect regular table-wiping and digital ordering to replace germy paper menus.
Consumers are likely to hit the high street before the pub. Primark, a big clothes retailer with no online shop, is installing hand-sanitiser stations and Perspex screens to separate staff from customers at the tills.