PUBS are adapting to serve the vast majority of their punters outdoors as they emerge from the three-month Covid-19 lockdown.

Ministers have published new proposals to allow pubs and restaurants to turn car parks into seating areas and licensed premises to serve takeaway booze to avoid crowding indoor areas.

David Brady, landlord of The Alma, in Copford, has put benches in place in the parking spaces outside the front of the pub, as well as socially distanced deck chairs and portaloos.

The pub is using large crosses, imported from Germany, for punters to rest their drinks on.

Every bench will be at least one metre apart from the next.

“We got hold of a lot of metre sticks for staff to measure out the distance,” he said.

“In our garden we have four tables, set two metres apart for people who are a bit nervous about being just a metre apart.

“The indoor area will only be for our older and more vulnerable customers.”

The pub will operate a booking system for three hour slots throughout the day and evening, with the first morning slot for tea, coffee and cakes, and the final slot ending at 11pm.

“We will be serving up to 120 people at a time, that is our capacity,” said Mr Brady.


  • The changes made to The Alma, in Copford, by landlord David Brady, to open admist a pandemic

“People will have to stick to the rules, if not they will have to leave.

“As licensees we have got a responsibility, it takes a lot to get a licence and we have spent a lot of money on the pub.


  • Socially distances deck chairs at the Alma

“So the last thing we want to do is mess it up by making people unsafe.”

He added: “People will come in, they will be allocated a space and they will be here for a maximum of three hours.


  • Some more of the changes made to The Alma

“We have increased out staffing level by four, and have a floor manager, who constantly at all times will be responsible for making sure people are sticking to the rules.”


  • The changes made to The Alma, in Copford, by landlord David Brady

Mr Brady is taking every available step to make sure returning punters can enjoy a pint safely, but is relying on customers to play their part too.


  • An undercover seating area at The Alma

“There is a certain level of trust, we don’t know just from looking at people who lives with who, or who is part of each household,” he said.

“So we do need customers to play their part as well and to be responsible.”