BRITS desperate to sip on a pint are rushing to book tables at pubs and restaurants for when they reopen in April.
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They will then be given the green light to offer indoor seating from May 17, providing specific Covid conditions are met.
Some establishments have already started accepting bookings for the provisional dates and punters are snapping them up.
Burger chain Byron is among the businesses that has confirmed it will reopen 17 branches for outdoor bookings from April.
It said it has already seen a surge in bookings following last night’s announcement from the Prime Minister where he unveiled his roadmap.
Despite the April date being just short of seven weeks away – and warnings the plans could change if a threatening fourth wave emerges – diners have been quick to secure their spot for opening days.
Within hours of the PM outlining the plans in the Commons, one Twitter user said they’d booked April 12 and 13 off work to mark the occasion.
“A Monday all dayer in the pub, don’t mind if I do,” they wrote.
Another said: “Me and five girlfriends have booked a table in a local pub garden for April 17.
“I think I might be even more excited about this than the kids going back to school on March 8th”.
After making a booking at their local, Clara joked: “I can’t remember what it feels like to eat food that someone else than me/my partner has cooked and it doesn’t come in a cold greasy plastic container.
“Don’t know about you but I’ve already booked my outdoor pub table for six on Sat April 17th at 12,” Rob said.
“It’s probably the furthest out I’ve made a meal reservation since my wedding.”
Punters will have to follow a strict set of rules when pubs and restaurants do open again.
Even for outdoor bookings, boozers must only offer table service and social distancing will still need to be observed.
For many pubs and restaurants, it’s too early to confirm exactly when they will be reopening, having been stung before following November’s lockdown.
Pub chains Greene King, which has 1,700 pubs across the UK, and Wetherspoons, which has 900 boozers, have both told The Sun they have not set a date to open their doors again.
The Drapers Arms in Islington and The Edinburgh Castle in Manchester are among the smaller independent businesses planning on reopening as soon as possible.
Local Hampshire pub The Purefoy Arms has said its seen a spike in bookings for its “outside pod” but not many for outside table bookings yet.
Bosses cautioned: “We have to be very careful as the weather will play a massive part in the number of people we will be serving.”
Groups of up to six people will be able to meet outdoors and outdoor sport will be able to return on March 29.