Since the third lockdown in England began in early January, all non-essential businesses have been closed, including Britain’s beloved pubs.
On the 12th April 2021, Covid-19 lockdown restrictions began easing. This allowed pubs and restaurants to reopen for outside service, along with nail salons, barbershops and indoor gyms.
Since reopening, pubs have been full of people wanting to get their first taste of a freshly poured pint of beer.
Working as a bartender or waiter can be a tough ask on a normal day. With the current lockdown easing and people itching to get out, it’s hard to realise just how difficult it has been.
Elliott Robbins, 21, from Leicester, works at The Olde Royal Oak, and has been waiting tables for nearly two years.
“It has been the second hardest time I’ve ever had during my time working here. The first was the Eat out to Help Out during August.”
“It has been non-stop. Going back and forth between the tables, and we have a lot of tables far from the kitchen. It’s quite frustrating, especially when things don’t go to plan.”
Many pubs take bookings to avoid staff being overworked, but some do still take walk-in customers.
“The first week back was challenging because it was getting back into the swing of things, but it was nice to be out and about doing something.”
“We take both bookings and walk-ins, it’s 50-50. But there are more people having to be turned away when the weather’s nice.”
“It’s typical isn’t it? The sun comes out, and so does every British person.”
“There’s just no time for a break, as soon as I relax for one second, there’s another drink order or there’s something wrong with the food.”
For many hospitality workers it has been a hard two weeks, and this is not helped by the inconsiderate customers who always cause trouble.
“I forgot just how some people acted when they’d had a few drinks. As much as it acts as entertainment, it’s not a good look having people arguing, fighting or breaking social-distancing laws.”
“It is good to be back though, we’ve all been hidden away in our houses waiting to be allowed out. And it’s just nice to be able to talk to people face to face and watch people interacting again. Hopefully this is the start of the return to normality.”
It may be hard to see a waiter, waitress or bartender as someone more than the deliverer of a freshly poured pint or a steaming hot pie, but there is still a person behind the role.
So next time they accidentally forget the salt, or there’s too much head on the drink, try to look past the mistake and appreciate what everyone has been through in the past year.