We spoke to Salisbury pubs to find out what they thought of the government's announcement that face masks will be optional in venues from Monday.

Boris Johnson announced this week that the legal requirement to wear face masks in indoor public places will be scrapped from Monday (July 19).

From so-called 'Freedom Day', it will be down to individual businesses and workplaces as to whether or not face coverings will be mandatory.

Proceeding "with caution"

The Cathedral Bar and Hotel will be proceeding "with caution".

Manager Tommy Roberts said that from Monday it will be optional for staff and customers to wear face coverings at the venue.

However, on Friday and Saturday nights, when the venue operates as a nightclub, staff members will have to wear masks.

He said: "We are also removing table service, allowing people to wander to the bar, and go back to how we used to but with caution.

"We will continue with our enhanced cleaning programme, with touchpoint sanitisation. My message to my team is that, whilst the restrictions are lifted, we are not out of the woods.

"For my staff, we need to exercise due diligence and trade as safely as we can."

He added that the new rules are a "bit of a shame" because not many will choose to wear masks: "We will be suggesting to people on a Friday and Saturday night that while moving around the venue and dancing, they wear a mask."

A "breath of fresh air"

However, The Bell and Crown landlord Robert Daley says the lifting of restrictions may be just what is needed.

He said his pub, on Catherine Street, will continue with table service, with the option of going up to the bar, and that face masks will be optional.

The landlord said: "I think table service will be a definite. The Europeans have been doing it for years. But if you do want to pop up to the bar, then that's your choice.

"As for face masks, I know everyone is still afraid of Covid and it's still knocking about, but as everyone is implying and I think everyone knows, Covid is going to become the new cold or new flu, that will come around every year.

"It's not going away, and we're going to have to learn to live with it. I think if you want to wear face masks, it is your personal choice whether you want to wear one or not - and same with our staff.

"We've had so many lockdowns and restrictions, I think everyone just needs a breath of fresh air. It will be nice for people to have the choice to come up to the bar."

In line with government guidance

The George and Dragon, Castle Street, is also keeping table service and following the regulations, with face masks optional.

A spokesperson said: "We will definitely be keeping table service and keeping Track and Trace, according to government regulations.

"We're just following the regulations as they come."

Dave Nicol from The Ox Row Inn agrees: "We will be going in line with whatever the government tell us to do.

"Face masks will be down to the individual, but we ask for people to sanitise their hands on the way in.

"You will be able to order at the bar again but will still have the option of table service."

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