PUB BOSSES in Bracknell Forest say people have responded positively to bars opening, after they closed for three months because of coronavirus restrictions.

They said the atmosphere hasn’t been affected and many enjoyed a visit since they reopened on April 12.

Simon Powell, landlord of the Newtown Pippin, in Harmanswater, said: “I think people are loving life, because of the fact they haven’t been able to see each other - they could go in people’s gardens for a couple weeks - but it’s not the same as going to the pub.

“Everyone can drink cans at home, but actually having a pint, or a glass of wine in the pub is totally different. It’s the atmosphere, and it’s what people pay for; that’s what pubs are about.”

Pubs closed on January 6 because of rising cases of COVID-19 but Mr Powell said that ‘coronavirus doesn’t concern’ them, as they worked last summer with restrictions, but the pandemic will still affect pubs.

“It will still be the rule of six inside, still got to have table service - it’s not going to be queuing up at the bar,” he said.

“Sitting at the bar, that is a long way off. A bit like the smoking ban in 2007, that hit pubs hard, and this is like the next challenge, getting over COVID - the new world, as we call it.”

Mark Silvster, landlord of the Woodcutters, in Forest Park, said: “Generally people are in good spirits, happy to see the pub back open again - not having a can from the supermarket that tastes of aluminium.

“We opened on Monday, and it was really busy - as expected, people just want to get back into the pub, or a bar, and to meet up with their colleagues, friends, family. It’s a bit different, because people can’t stand at the bar, and are being told what they can, and can’t, do.

"Opening was quite hard really; a bit of anticipation, a bit of anxiety, we haven’t seen anybody for over 16 weeks, so a bit scary - but a lot of hard work has been done to get the garden ready, and then the doors open and it’s like switching into pub mode, and it all comes back. It never left you really."

Drinks sales have increased by 114 percent in England last week, a report by The Guardian said, compared to what was sold before the coronavirus pandemic, and that sales at 1,687 licensed premises were 58 percent higher than a comparable day in 2019. Food sales were down by 12 percent.

Charlotte Langston, manager of the Rose and Crown, in Sandhurst, said the amount of people coming to the pub for lunch and dinner has ‘definitely increased’.

Ms Langston said: “I think people were excited to go out and eat, because a lot of restaurants can’t do outdoor service, and so people are going to pubs to eat, so we’ve found a lot of people are coming to eat for lunch, coming for dinner - just because they can go out.

“We’ve still got the atmosphere, everyone’s still really excited but I think people are still really cautious of COVID itself, but I also think people are understanding - it’s been a year now, people know what’s going on.

“I think we’ll be okay, to be honest,as long as everyone sticks to the rules, I am hoping we will be out of this in July and we can sort of trade as normal without any restrictions at all.”

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said pubs are operating at 20 percent of the space they would normally have.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the BBPA, said: “That’s not full capacity, that is restricted capacity and at levels that in normal times would be deemed very quiet. For this reason, we need pubs to open indoors and out as soon as possible, and the restrictions to be removed to allow us a chance at trading viably and making any kind of profit.”