PUB AND bar patrons around East Lancashire and across the country are anticipating the reopening of the nation’s hospitality trade with mixed feelings as July 4 approaches.

For many establishments a note of caution remains the order of the day and several of the county’s pubs and bars will be delaying their reopening to ensure that they have the capacity to keep customers safe.

Beer writer and pub trade expert Mark Briggs believes that publicans are right to be cautious.

He said: “It’s too early in my opinion and that does appear to be the consensus of opinion amongst landlords and customers, that pubs are opening too early.

“Some of the smaller, more traditional pubs may be calmer, but on the Saturday larger pubs will be manic and staff will be overwhelmed, people don’t understand that.”

He added: “It should have been a softly, softly approach, perhaps opening on the Monday to Thursday to start with.”

East Lancashire venues that have decided not to reopen yet include the Bees Knees, which has establishments in Blackburn and Burnley.

A statement issued by Bees Knees said: “We will be opening on Friday 10th July with small steps to hopeful normality soon.

“Updates will be made with government guidance, please bear with us during this awful time and support your pubs as we try and open in a safe and sensible manner.”

As such, the Bees Knees has announced that once they have opened, they will be operating a strict table order service, customers will have to wait to be seated and customers will have to sanitise their hands on entering.

The bar will also be requiring customers to sign in using the NHS track and trace app.

Similarly, the Spread Eagle pub and restaurant in Mellor, the Bull’s Head in Blackburn and many more prominent venues will also be delaying their reopening.

As such this weekend will see a more varied picture than the nationwide “Super Saturday” the government has been signalling.

A joint statement issued by the British Beer & Pub Association, UK Hospitality, the London Night Czar and the National Police Chiefs’ Council acknowledged these concerns.

They said: “We are looking forward to welcoming people back into pubs in villages, towns and cities across the country this weekend, but we also want to impress upon people the importance of behaving responsibly.

“We ask pub goers to be supportive of landlords and pub staff, helping them to reopen in the best way possible.

They added: “If we all work together, we can ensure that the reopening of pubs and hospitality is a success and an enjoyable experience for everyone.”