AFTER more than three months pubs and restaurants across the city will finally be allowed to open their doors to customers today – but things will look very different to before lockdown.

Cowley Road’s Big Society is set to start pulling pints from midday, though regulars will notice a host of changes.

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In a post on Facebook the pub stated: “While we can’t wait to see you, we just want to let you know what measures we have in place to keep you as safe as possible during your visit.

“We will be operating with table service only. You can browse the menu, order and pay using the QR reader on your phone and the GoodEats website.”


Big Society, Cowley Road

There will also be a one-way system, as well as hand sanitiser stations at various points around the venue.

Similar measures will be in place at Cowley Road pubs The City Arms and Brewdog.


Head of the River pub last summer

The Head of the River pub on Folly Bridge has been deep cleaned ahead of its reopening and been fitted with hand sanitising stations, informing customers on its website they will allow for one metre plus social distancing and separate entrances and exits ‘where possible’.

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The Holly Bush in Osney is also opening today, but customers will not be able to sit at the bar, stand in the pub or have any bar service.

Sanitiser stations at the entrance and at key points throughout the pub and a one-way system will also be used along with a new app being trailed to help with contactless ordering and payment.


New signs at the Holly Bush

Cocktail bar and restaurant Slug and Lettuce is prepared for ‘super Saturday’ with hand sanitiser and a food ordering app. The bar has moved furniture to make more space and the menu has a few changes.

The bar, as with all businesses, will take people's contact details to comply with government guidance to aid with its track and trace programme, should someone test positive for coronavirus.

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The Punter will be opening today and relaunching as a vegetarian and vegan pub.

However, the pub has informed customers that they will need a table reservation to dine at the pub for the foreseeable future.

Lots of pubs and restaurants have decided to control numbers with a booking-only policy, such as The Cowley Retreat which is fully booked, so customers hoping to visit will have needed to plan ahead.


The Cowley Retreat

While there will be plenty of choices in the city today, lots of businesses have decided not to open at all yet.

Some have opted for a more low key mid-week reopening like the Jolly Postboys in East Oxford on July 8, with others delaying even longer.

The Chester Arms will not be back serving pints until the end of July, while popular Cowley Road restaurant Arbequina is among those waiting until August.

This caution has been echoed by customers, with a national survey suggesting 80 per cent of potential punters are planning to avoid pubs and restaurants today.

Downing Street confirmed yesterday pubs would be able to open from 6am, to deter any planned midnight openings.