The Morning Advertiser (MA) understands that in addition to publishing its 43-page guidance document for the hospitality sector, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has moved to clarify the conditions under which pubs will be able to show live sport this summer.
As reported by MA, the current Premier League is not scheduled to finish until 25 July meaning that there will be 21 days of Premier League football available to pubs when they reopen on 4 July in addition to coverage including the EFL Championship and a rebooted 2020 Formula One season.
The Government’s 43-page document, published after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that pubs and bars would be able to open next month, recognises that for many pubs and bars, providing entertainment such as recorded music, live sports broadcasts, quizzes, live musicians or comedians are an important part of their business.
It therefore sets out a number of conditions under which entertainment – including live sports broadcasts – can be shown when pubs resume trading post-lockdown.
MA understands that while pubs and bars will be able to show live sport, Government guidance states that shouting and chanting is not to be permitted due to the potential for aerosol transmission of Covid-19.
The document also states that all venues should ensure that measures are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other. Therefore, live sports coverage must be played a volume that enables normal conversation to take place throughout the rest of the venue.
What’s more, venues are encouraged to reconfigure indoor spaces to ensure customers are seated rather than standing when watching live sports broadcasts and using additional staff to supervise where appropriate.
Like other venues, sports pubs will be mandated to undertake a risk assessment before reopening, as well as incorporating broader guidance into relaunch plans.
‘Fans have missed sport’
With pubs currently slated to reopen no earlier than 4 July, fans are already looking forward to watching sport with their friends at the pub, according to research by sport pub finding app MatchPint.
“We’ve explored what fans want from a social sports occasion, how their lives have changed during lockdown, and the biggest challenges they expect as the country reopen,” MatchPint co-founder Dom Collingwood previously told MA.
“Unsurprisingly, fans have missed sport, particularly the connection, community and camaraderie it brings. Every one of the 15 fans we’ve interviewed and 250 fans we’ve surveyed suggested they were looking forward to watching sport with friends as soon as they’re able to.”
According to Collingwood, the biggest challenges pub-going sports fans identified as lockdown eases were finding out which pubs are open (87%), finding out whether pubs still have Sky or BT Sport (64%), finding out whether a sports pub has capacity before they arrive (52%), booking in advance to guarantee a seat in case of restricted capacity (31%) and finding pubs showing sport on outdoor screens (30%).
“We’re now focusing on how we work with customers and partners to help fans answer these questions and stimulate a return of social sports occasions in pubs as soon as it is safe to do so.”