Covid pub rules: How to check in at the pub, reopening dates and more

Punters will now be required to check in at their pub every time they want a pint

Updated on 07 April 2021 • Written By Rosie Conroy

Covid pub rules: How to check in at the pub, reopening dates and more

It’s been a long time coming, but finally beer gardens are coming back

Along with restaurants and bars reopening, pubs are due to reopen their outdoor spaces on the 12 April. Following this lockdown however, there are a few notable differences.

The main development post lockdown number three is that guests will be required to "check in" each time they visit a pub. Previously just one member of each group had to sign in before entering hospitality businesses, but now each member of the party will have to do so autonomously to gain entry. Enforcement last time was - shall we say - a little loose, and we're expecting things to be a lot tighter this time around. 

To check in, pub-goers will have to use the NHS Track and Trace app, which will log customers’ details as well as their venue history in a "privacy-protecting way", the government has said. According to the guidelines users’ will be asked for their consent to share their venue history and the identity of individuals will not be visible.


The news of additional restrictions on the hospitality industry hasn’t wholly been met with positivity. Representatives from the industry have written to the Prime Minister to express concerns over the “triple whammy” of restrictions being enforced, saying the measures “threaten the very survival of thousands of businesses."

Additional measures to be introduced alongside checking in include one way systems, mask policies and social distancing from other groups.

Covid pub rules: Here's everything you need to know 

When do pubs reopen?

As with restaurants, pubs will reopen on the 12 April for outdoor service only. Pubs will be able to reopen their indoor spaces on the 17 May.

How many people can meet at the pub?

The rule of six applies to those wishing to enjoy a pint or two down their local. This means you can meat up to five other people from different households outdoors when pubs reopen.

How do you check in at a pub with the Track and Trace app?

All customers will be required to check in via the Track and Trace app which you will have to download via your smartphone’s app store. Once logged in there will be instructions for how to log yourself at the venue you’re attending. There might also be QR codes at pubs to help make things easier, but this is yet to be confirmed.

Do you need a vaccine passport to visit a pub?

It has been touted that a vaccine passport could be introduced at pubs, but so far nothing has been confirmed. The idea was met with much resistance from people who say it adds too much administrative burden to both customers and custodians alike. If vaccine passports for pubs are brought it in it’s likely that it would only be once all adults had been offered the vaccination, which should be around the end of July.

Is there still a curfew in place for pubs?

Pubs are no longer required to adhere to a curfew as they were after previous lockdowns, so will be able to be open after 10pm.

Do you need to order food at a pub?

No, the much-mocked “substantial meal” rule has been scrapped, so you’re free to enjoy a few drinks without having to order from the food menu at the same time.

Will you have to wear a mask at the pub?

It will be required that you wear a facemask at pubs and restaurants when you’re not seated. That means you’ll still need your facemask if you’re walking in or out of the venue, or going to the bathroom for instance.

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