Stop judging people at the pub this weekend – there are more reasons for supporting local boozers than getting drunk

Martha Alexander
·13-min read
PA
PA

When my local reopens this weekend, I’ll be there enjoying my first hand-pulled pint in four months.

I am aware there are plenty of people claiming that the likes of me are immoral and irresponsible – that we should be ashamed or haven’t thought beyond the joy of a cold pint on a warm day.

But I’m going for a whole raft of reasons that run deeper than a craven desire to get blind drunk in a bar.

Firstly, I’m going to support the economy which has taken a battering during lockdown. This goes hand-in-hand with boosting local morale: it’s essential to show small businesses that their customers are here and ready to support them again.

Secondly, I’m going for my sanity, which has been compromised during lockdown. Humans are a social species: isolation can and does cause a host of mental health issues including depression and anxiety. I’ve been lucky enough to isolate with my family, but for many people, the pub is a beacon in the dark - a place to drink, yes, but also to talk, to debate, to laugh and just to say “hello” to someone.

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However, it’s worth remembering that pubs won’t be operating with the same freedoms as before. There are safety measures in place including face coverings and gloves for staff plus screens dividing tables.

Yes, I am aware that if we aren’t careful another deadly spike in coronavirus cases is coming straight for us and that going to the pub is absolutely not the definition of “being careful” but equally I feel that we can’t live in fear anymore.

Would I feel differently if me or someone close to me was vulnerable or a key worker? The truth is people close to me are vulnerable and are key workers, but there are also people close to me who earn their living from hospitality. I believe that unless you are at risk, it’s time to try to tentatively embrace the things we used to do.

And while I can acknowledge my privilege to work from home and not be classed as vulnerable, I urge those whose livelihoods don’t rely on small hospitality businesses or whose work hasn’t been entirely compromised by Covid-19, or who have been living surrounded by family, to examine their privilege to be able to moralise about why some people are going to be down the pub this weekend.

My belief is that we need to take the opportunities for joy and connection where we can and so today you’ll find me at the pub – with my mask pulled down and a cold beer in my santitised hand, toasting to a small slice of normality.

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