Don’t go down to the pub today, because the Covid teddy bears may be there.

Covid Marshalls defend Kew's frontiers from Wandsworth South African Variant Carriers

Monday 12th April was a milestone in Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown. Pubs reopened, at least in England. Hurrah! But forgive me for my lack of excitement, because the conditions for drinkers are far removed from the convivial and relaxed atmosphere of this British institution. 

First, you cannot simply walk in and order a pint at the bar. No, no, no. Do this and you will already have committed several covid crimes. ‘You need a mask to come in here. And have you booked, sir? Sorry, we can’t just let anyone in off the street’. You could try to book from the entrance. A table is free in 20 minutes, but you can only have it for two hours. 

No smartphone? You could still gain entry, if you run back home to make a booking. That would probably need to be done online, although some landlords may allow a phone call from a landline. Who knows? 

Okay, so somehow you have made a booking. You mustn’t arrive early. Or if you do, wait outside away from the entrance. At the appointed time you will be asked to scan your QR code for the NHS Track and Trace app. Or sign in on a clipboard. Unlike last year, everyone must register on entry. 

Then you’ll be shown to your table – in the back garden. It’s cold and raining, but hey – it’s a start! There’s a canopy keeping the rain off, but everyone is wearing coats and scarves and trying to pretend that they’re having fun. 

You order your drinks from the picnic table. No real ale – the barrels haven’t arrived yet from the brewery. Four pints of lager, then. Plastic glasses arrive on a tray, with some spillage en route.  £6 per pint – quite an increase since you were last here. 

But for all these inconveniences and stifling regulations, the worst is yet to come. Every conversation you hear is about vaccines. Smug middle-class types with bespoke patterned masks, lowering them only when sipping their drink, want their friends to know they’ve been jabbed. Astra Zeneca or Pfizer – that stimulates another half hour of debate. And then the side-effects. ‘At least I know it’s working’. 

You mustn’t converse with anyone at other tables, and getting up from the table without a mask risks rebuke. Bar staff, also muzzled, are under instructions to ensure covid discipline at all times – council enforcement officers are on the prowl. 

As the pub is no longer a pub, perhaps I’ll recreate the Horse & Groom in my back garden. 

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13 Comments on Don’t go down to the pub today, because the Covid teddy bears may be there.

  1. A pub is also no longer a pub when you can’t entertain a visiting darts, skittles or cribbage team.
    And a free country is no longer a free country when you can’t step outside your door without valid papers.

  2. I just buy lots of Sticky Toffee Pudding ale from my local Asda and drink at home. No queues, no noise, no phones, no bookings – and none of those flowery masks.

    And at four bottles for six pounds, I KNOW who’s winning!

  3. Astonishing that the world’s medical profession was conned by this ‘hoax’. (Niall Macrae) Maybe Bill Gates arranged for a soporific spray to be pumped into the air conditioning of hospitals, so the medical and nursing staff went about in a daze .

    • Niall McCrae is a member of the “world’s medical profession”. So is the editor of this site. Both of them are critics, not conspiracy theorists.

  4. This was not at all like my experience yesterday. I was treated with respect and courtesy. I took a seat outside in the garden, and the charming landlord brought me my pint.

    • But Niall has to make himself some kind of victim. It’s interesting that you write from personal experience, whereas he has clearly not. It’s his “narrative”, as I believe the young people are saying.

    • Roger: I hope you haven’t been horribly traumatised by this Marxist parody of the true pub experience! Having your pint brought to you by the landlord is just WRONG!

  5. Oh England Oh England what have you become !

    Niall you describe very well what many pubs are conforming to.

    But wait Sir. There is hope. I met a friend tonight who popped along to his local where his enlightened freedom loving landlord actively encouraged customers to loiter inside the bar without muzzling masks and certainly no need whatsoever to book or confirm identity.

    It seems all is not lost in our dear old England. Not quite.

    • Glad to hear that, Jeff.

      The government doesn’t like pubs because its customers congregate and share their disdain and contempt for the biggest hoax in modern history (I believe the virus is real, but not the lasting state if emergency).

      • Dear Niall, There is a clear truth in that.
        The Sageists, and the government dislike the fact that men can meet, and depending on the type of bar, either laugh at, lampoon, and ridicule the effete edicts from the mask wearers, and computer modellers.
        Or, they can discuss the implications of replacing our freedoms, which took centuries to win, by a technocratic surveillance society, and refer to Solzhenitsyn and The King James Bible whilst doing so.
        In a good bar free thinking and free speaking, without the presence of electronic snooping, encourage thought in others, exchange of ideas, and digression. All of these things are considered dangerous by Whitty, Vallance, Michie et al, with their horrid dreams of a technocratic communism run by globalist bankers.

      • I don’t think people really waste their time talking at length about that in pubs, Niall mate. It’s more places like Twitter and this cesspit of moronic, racist discourse that it happens. But it sounds like you’d be a real hoot when everybody else wants to talk about the footy. That’s if you ever go to pubs, which your fantasist outpourings above would tend to suggest otherwise.