What you can and can’t do at the pub from May 17 as lockdown eases

As at long last pubs can serve thirsty customers indoors again, many are wondering what the new rules will be.

From today (Monday, May 17) pubs and restaurants can reopen or indoor service for the first time since December, but there will still be some restrictions in place.


This comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed England will progress to step three of the roadmap out of lockdown as planned.

But what rules should we know before we can enjoy a pint in our local?

1 – How many people can I go to the pub with?

The ‘rule of six’ will still be in force indoors from May 17, meaning people will be allowed to meet up in groups of six – or two households, whichever is greater.

Although indoor mixing will be permitted, customers will have to order from their table and stay seated – enabling social distancing.

2 – Will the rules change for beer gardens?

Falmouth Packet:

Yes, punters will be happy to hear they can meet in groups of up to 30 out in the fresh air.

However, outdoor gatherings that exceed 30 people will remain illegal.

3 – Do I have to sign in when I go to the pub?

Yes, test and trace rules for pubs mean everyone over 16-years-old must sign in.

The rules mean every person must now sign in on entry, unlike last year when just one member of a group needed to do this.

This can be done either via the NHS Covid-19 app or in person, by giving a member of staff your contact details.

4 – Can I buy a takeaway pint?

Falmouth Packet:

Yes, pubs have been allowed to serve takeaway pints since they reopened for business on April 12.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson previously confirmed plastic pints will get the green light from “step two, from no earlier than the 12th of April, in line with outdoor hospitality.”

However, people sitting in beer gardens will still have to order alcohol via table service, because queuing at the bar is banned.

5 – Do I have to order food with my drink?

Falmouth Packet:

No, you don’t need a substantial meal with your booze and there will be no curfew, due to the confusion both rules previously caused.

When the tier system was in force last year, the Scotch egg was at the centre of a national debate when ministers disagreed over whether the snack was a “substantial meal” in tier 2 areas of the country.

What else will reopen on May 17?

  • Cinemas, museums, theatres and concert halls will be allowed to reopen although there will be capacity limits on large events
  • The “stay in the UK” restriction will lift and people will be able to travel to “green list” countries, such as Portugal, although they are still being advised not to go to destinations on the amber list
  • Up to 30 people will be allowed at weddings, although dancing will still not be allowed, and the cap on the number of mourners attending funerals will be lifted, in line with the safe capacity of the venue
  • Secondary school pupils will no longer be told to wear face masks in class and communal areas

Falmouth Packet | Truro