ONLY half of pubs are likely to open tomorrow, Saturday, July 4, says Knutsford-based Forum of Private Pubs after seeking the views of its members.

The pub membership organisation surveyed its members last weekend, with only one in four who took part saying the government guidelines were clear and easy to understand.

The forum is the result of Knutsford-based Forum of Private Business joining forces with The Pub Defender to launch a new support organisation to help the pub trade through the coronavirus lockdown and beyond.

Chief executive of the new forum, Ian Cass said: “The guidelines issued by the Government last week were not well written, and in many ways impractical.

“For example, just the simple issue of capturing visitors’ details, which should be a simple task, is far more complicated than you would think.

“The government GDPR advice is that when people are filling in a form they must ensure their details can’t be seen by others.

“So, if you use, for example, a visitor book, everyone filling it in can see other peoples’ details, which is a breach of the law.

“So, pubs have to buy expensive GDPR compliant visitor books that are designed for people visiting businesses and are not designed for customers going into pubs.

“You may need a lot of these books if you have lots of customers coming in and out.

“The distancing rules are also impossible to implement in some of the older more rural pubs, and failure to adhere to the advice to the letter will leave many pubs exposed to their insurance being invalid.”

Mr Cass said only 27 per cent of the pubs responding to the survey felt the guidelines issued by the Government were clear and easy to understand, and less than a third said they were achievable and could be implemented by July 4, particularly with the risk of an immediate high customer demand and likely behavioural issues.

He added: “Having suffered severe cashflow issues while the lockdown has been in place, only 14 per cent believe it is financially viable for their pub to open with the guidelines in place.

“Customers expecting a ‘good drinking session’ may be disappointed with only 50 per cent of the pubs responding having ordered stock for July 4.”