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Rules for visiting pubs and restaurants from opening day
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Hospitality businesses have been shut to customers since early January, but we can finally visit them again from today.

Pubs and restaurants are able to begin serving outside as part of the Government's roadmap to exit lockdown - and many of us can't wait for that first proper meal out or cold pint.

After a year of untold disruption, the hospitality sector is still in a precarious position and businesses will need to be well supported to boost their chances of survival.

Many will be eagerly awaiting for the Government to confirm if they can resume inside service from May 17 as planned.

Plenty of pubs and restaurants across Bristol have transformed their outside spaces to make them usable no matter what the weather ready for our return, and lots of places are already booked up for weeks.

There are however a number of pubs that aren't taking bookings, instead operating on a first come, first served basis or those who aren't fond of making reservations.

Whether you've got somewhere booked in or plan to go with the flow, it's worth knowing what the rules are when it comes to visiting hospitality venues.

Below is everything you need to know.

Rules for visiting pubs and restaurants

The guidelines state venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors at Step 2 of the roadmap, which begins today (April 12).

Unlike last year, there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks, which will come as a slice of welcome news for both business owners and customers.

Better still there will be no curfew in place, something which proved to be hugely restrictive and problematic for business owners last year as it forced them to miss out on late-night trade.

The 10pm curfew was announced in September to try and halt an "exponential" rise in coronavirus cases, but was widely criticised by people associated with the hospitality sector up and down the country.

Not needing to serve drinkers a substantial meal and being able to stay open later is fantastic news for businesses, but customers must still eat and drink while seated, with 'vertical drinking' at the bar still prohibited.

Who can you visit pubs and restaurants with?

Wider social contact rules will still apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.

This means you can only visit outdoor hospitality venues in groups of six, or two separate households.

Support bubbles will count as a single household.

Venues will also have to ensure tables are spaced in a socially distanced way, with two metres - or one metre with risk mitigation - between your table and the table next to you.

Do you still need to check in?

Everyone aged 16-years-old and above will now have to check in on the NHS Covid-19 app (Image: Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)

The rules stipulate that everyone aged 16-years-old and above will now have to check in on the NHS Covid-19 app, or provide staff with their contact details.

This differs to last year, when only one member of each party had to do so. It's a legal requirement for venues to make sure everyone checks in and there are financial penalties for businesses that don't comply.

If you refuse to check in or provide contact details, there is a chance you won't be let into the venue.

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Usual coronavirus rules still in place

The majority of coronavirus we've now become used to in everyday life will remain in place - and are even likely to stick around until June 21 at the earliest.

This means face coverings will be mandatory in all indoor public spaces, unless you have a medical exemption, while venues will likely encourage thorough hand washing and/or hand sanitising before entering the premises.

You can also expect to find one-way systems and staggered queues before visiting toilets or getting to your table, with social distancing needing to be maintained.

Sadly music will remain at a low volume for now to minimise any shouting, singing or dancing.

Can pubs without outside spaces reopen?

Boozers that don't have the luxury of a beer garden won't be able to welcome customers until May 17.

However, they will be allowed to trade in some form - with the Government permitting the sales of takeaway pints once again from today.

These have been banned since early January. Customers must take their food and drinks away to consume off the premises, state the guidelines.

More top stories in Bristol:

Bristol's reopening day live updates as shops, pubs and hairdressers prepare for customers

Bristol weather: Met Office Reopening Day forecast for pub beer gardens and queues outside Primark and hairdressers

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