PUBS will not fully reopen until mid-May under the Prime Minister’s four-step roadmap out of lockdown, to the dismay of Oldham's landlords. 

Boris Johnson has said the hospitality industry will reopen in two phases. From May 17, the rule of six will be applied in hospitality settings and from April 12, pubs and restaurants will be able to open for outdoor trading.

Stuart Thurston, the landlord of the Highfield Inn, said: “Personally I can’t see how they can do it because what about the weather? Unless you’ve got a full marquee, where you can hold a lot of people, I can’t see how businesses are going to make it work.”

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Outdoor trading only, has been considered not commercially viable by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), as 60 per cent of pubs in the UK (29,000) do not have the garden or patio space for outdoor only service.

Mr Thurston said: “I really can’t see it being viable, for me to take staff off furlough, to get the electricity on, the heating on, and then it’s going to be waiter service outside so that’s extra staff…Even on a glorious day we would be looking at a capacity of 30 people and that would be the maximum to keep social distancing in place.

“It just doesn’t seem viable unless you’ve got a country pub in the middle of Cornwall and a huge premises. A small pub like ours, or back street pubs, are never going to be able to do it, there’s no way on earth.”

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“I think it’s ridiculous that pubs are the last thing to open, you can have outdoor events and thousands of people can turn up to football matches,” he added.  

Earlier this month, 63 MPs wrote to Boris Johnson calling for “pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues to be allowed to open for Easter”, adding that covid measures should not be so strict as to prevent them opening in a "commercially viable manner". 

Pub curfews and rules on “substantial” meals have also now been scrapped.

“That was a complete and utter shambles, people were doing scotch eggs, it was just ludicrous and never going to work because at the end of the day we’re not police officers and we can only do what we can,” Mr Thurston said.  

Ahead of the Prime Minister’s announcement Sacha Lord, the Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, wrote on Twitter: “We need to wait for the PM to confirm today, but, if the return of restaurants/pubs isn't until May, the Chancellor needs to urgently respond with a clear support package.”

Mr Thurston said: “Hospitality was always going to be the last, they’d rather have 300,000 people visiting the Trafford Centre everyday then 80 people coming into a pub.”

As far as the government grants Mr Thurston added: “What they’re giving us now (in government grants) to live is less than job seeker’s allowance if you weren’t working.”

On March 3 the Chancellor will deliver the details of the spring budget in front of MPs at the House of Commons. The budget is set to include updates to the furlough scheme and business rate relief.