A LANDLORD has spoken of his worry about social distancing when pubs eventually reopen.

Phil Walker, chairman of the Westmorland branch for Campaign for Real Ale and owner of The New Union, said it will take pubs "a long time to recover from the lockdown".

Mr Walker spoke out as pub campaigners estimated that the nation's hostelries missed out on sales of 10m extra pints of beer over the bank holiday weekend because of the coronavirus measures.

The government says pubs may start to reopen in July.

But Mr Walker said: “Social distancing will be an issue for many pubs and it will take us a long time to recover from the lockdown.

“It is how long pubs will take to recover - that is the question though.

“I have done takeaways which has worked for me but this has not been an option for others.

“There is an issue around staff and how they work behind the bar as well as interacting with customers.

"In my pub we would be looking at a third of the capacity.

“Of course there is outside but the increase in investment of outdoor furniture would be needed as well as additional guidance from the government of what we can do.

"Can we have a roof over the beer garden?

"If so, what size?

“There is Personal Protective Equipment to think about as well.

"We will need there to be availability and know it is reliable so we can protect our staff and customers, as their safety is very important.

“There are so many unanswered questions but we have to wait for the government to decide.

“Hospitality in the Lakes will survive and hopefully recover quicker with an increase in people holidaying in this area in the summer.”

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said pubs would have been packed on a normal late May Bank Holiday, with good weather and the FA Cup final usually held on the Saturday.

The trade body noted that pubs were the first businesses to be ordered to shut down by the government in March and could be among the last to re-open.

The BBPA said not all pubs will reopen from July as many won’t be able to meet the social distancing measures required by then.

Ensuring a distance of two metres will be impossible for some pubs, keeping them closed for much longer, said the BBPA.

Chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “This bank holiday weekend would usually bring a much-needed boost to our sector - as many as 10 million extra pints could have been sold in pubs.”