New Covid rules for UK pubs: do I have to wear a mask in a pub or restaurant from 19th July?

Pub giants Green King, Mitchell and Butler, and Wetherspoons have said customers will not be required to wear a mask
(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Pub goers will be able to order a drink from the bar without a mask from Monday (19 July).

Guidance front the UK Government says it “expects and recommends that people continue to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces”.

(Graphic by Mark Hall)(Graphic by Mark Hall)
(Graphic by Mark Hall)

However, pub giants, including Greene King, Mitchell and Butler, and Wetherspoons who run nearly 6,000 sites between them, have said that customers will not be required to wear a mask.

Here’s all you need to know about the new Covid rules for UK pubs.

Bars, restaurants and pubs

Wearing a mask inside restaurants, bars and pubs will be at the discretion of the individual venue.

(Graphic by Kim Mogg)(Graphic by Kim Mogg)
(Graphic by Kim Mogg)

Individual businesses will decide what rules work for them, according to UK Hospitality, who represent the hospitality sector.

UK Hospitality said businesses have “invested heavily to make their venues COVID-safe so they'll be well-placed to know what measures - if any - are necessary to reduce risk".

Pub chain Greene King, which owns more than 1,050 pubs in the UK, said staff and customers can choose whether to wear a mask or not.

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said his pubs will use the same Covid precaution measures introduced in July 2020, making face coverings available for staff and customers if they want to wear them - but it will not be compulsory.

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Whitbread, the owner of Premier Inn and a number of bar and restaurant brands, confirmed that it would also be removing face covering requirements for its pubs, saying that it would be left to personal choice.

Greene King and Wetherspoons also confirmed they would no longer require customers to check in with their Test and Trace app.

The leading pub chains, including Mitchell and Butler, have also promised that from Monday (19 July), pub goers will be able to walk up to the bar and order a drink.

“The wearing of face masks is no longer a legal requirement, so this will be a matter of personal choice both for our team members and guests,” a spokesperson for Mitchell and Butler, which owns All Bar One and Toby Carvery, said.

“Vertical drinking will be allowed, though we’ll continue to encourage guests to use our convenient order and pay at table apps.”