We asked bartenders how they feel about going back to work tomorrow

‘It’s going to be absolutely dystopian’

Tomorrow is Super Saturday – the pubs will be open from 6am and the pints are gonna be flowing. You’re either heading there straight away to get the drinks in or you’re pretty apprehensive and will stick to drinking in the garden. Regardless of your decision, the pubs will be open, which means a lot of bartenders are going back to work.

For some of them this is a chance to be busy and earn money again. For others it’s the end of their endless Netflix days, but for a few, this return to work could potentially be bringing about a lot of fear. Telling people to leave, violent customers and people not obeying social distancing – their jobs could be putting them in danger.

We spoke to three bartenders to ask them how they feel about pulling pints again. The bartenders work at Spoons, a country pub and a fancy gin bar. Despite the different surroundings, the resounding feeling was one of excitement but a fear of the unknown.

This is how a few bartenders from around the country feel about returning to work tomorrow:

“I have become accustomed to the doing nothing lifestyle so it will be a bit of a shock to the system”

George is a 22-year-old Royal Holloway graduate who is heading back to work at a country pub and restaurant in Milton Keynes. Whilst excited to see his colleagues again, his major concern is going back to working 40+ hours after months of doing nothing.

He said: “I’m looking forward to seeing work colleagues but unsure as to how it will go. The virus is still in the UK, so there’s a big risk of getting it still and passing it on to others, secondly I have become accustomed to the doing nothing lifestyle so it will be a bit of a shock to the system.

“I’m also nervous about people getting drunk and not socially distancing. I personally think pubs reopening will lead to a rise in coronavirus cases.”

“When people are sat enjoying themselves I’m gonna feel like a dickhead asking them to leave”

Bobby is a 22-year-old student living in Newcastle and working in a fancy gin bar. Bobby isn’t majorly concerned about serving customers because of all the PPE, however he said the problems will come when asking people to leave. If force is required to get people to leave, there will be no chance of social distancing, he says.

Bobby also mentioned how he’s worried the reopening of pubs and bars could lead to a second spike.

He said: “Personally, I’m not too worried about going back to work because of PPE but there’s no denying it’s going to be absolutely dystopian. It’s going to feel undeniably weird serving customers wearing visors, etc, and I’d say a very weird experience for a customer to be served when such stringent protective measures are in place.

“As seems to be the case in most bars, it is obviously limited capacity and you can only stay there for 90 mins – personally I would not enjoy being told I had to leave a bar after four pints.

“When people are sat enjoying themselves and not bothering anyone else I’m gonna feel like a dickhead asking them to leave. If people are getting argumentative about it though and don’t understand that I’m only asking them to leave because I have to then I’ll probably be less troubled by asking them to leave.

“I’m excited to be back at work in general but obviously we’ve really no clue what to expect. It’s gonna be a very, very strange working environment compared to what we’re used to and it will definitely take time to familiarise myself with it. Plus, I very much think that if there is a second spike it will be caused by drunk people in bars not socially distancing, so we’re very much relying on the PPE to successfully look after us.”

“It’ll be really hard trying to get people to behave and socially distance”

Ben* is a bartender at Spoons, he’s not worried about going back to work because of the PPE. For him the main concern is everyone getting drunk after three months of not being able to go out and how they’re going to act after a few pints.

He said: “I’ll be working all weekend and just had a brief on how to handle everything. I feel quite safe going back because there’s so many things they’ve put in place to ensure there’s really low levels of transmission.

“My only anxiety is the country hasn’t got pissed for three months and when people get too pissed breaking rules and violence tends to be inevitable and it’ll be really hard trying to get people to behave and socially distance.”

*Some names have been changed.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Every single person you will encounter at the pub on Super Saturday

These are the worst people at restaurants, according to waiters

Boycotting Spoons is actually the opposite of helpful. Sincerely, Spoons staff