PUB owners have expressed concerns at the lack of government guidance ahead of plans to partially reopen the hospitality industry in July.

The industry experienced a nationwide shut down on March 20 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and businesses remain uncertain when they can reopen under the current guidelines.

The Feathers Inn at Hedley-on-the-Hill, near Stocksfield, has called for further guidance before welcoming customers.

“The guidelines for pubs reopening are non-existent,” said co-owner Helen Greer.

“There is guidance for pubs to operate as takeaways, but nothing is clear about a dine in service. It’s very vague.

“I want it to be clearer whether it’s safe to have people inside. What do we do about toilets and kitchens?”

Robin Kershaw, owner of The Pheasant Inn at Stannersburn near Kielder said pub owners required more detail on what they could and couldn't do.

He said: “People think that the Government have said all pubs will reopen on July 4, but nobody knows. We are still working on the two metre distancing rule and it’s not possible to reopen properly with it in place.”

The Rat Inn at Anick are hoping to use their beer garden as part of the first phase of reopening the pub. 

"We don’t have clarity yet about an opening date, but it is likely the Government will give the go ahead for beer gardens first," it said. 

"In any event we believe people will feel safer outdoors to begin with so that’s what we are planning for.

"Obviously, we will have a full range of measures in place to protect customers and our staff.

The British Beer & Pub Association said only a third of England’s pubs would be able to reopen and apply the the two metre rule.

And the owners of the Feathers Inn said that safety remained their priority. “I am extremely cautious,” Helen said. "I want it to be safe and I am more concerned about that than resuming business. We shut the business a week early for the safety of our customers and staff.”

During lockdown, staff at the Rat Inn have been redevloping the pub's beer garden space to create more rables and space with social distancing in mind. 

"This has been a tough few months for everyone working in hospitality, but having a project like this has driven us on we are feeling positive about the future, have many plans and are very much looking forward to seeing our pub open once again."

The Pheasant Inn, popular for its accommodation and dining facilities, hopes to reopen mid-July to cater for it’s outstanding reservations.