Beat Kümin, Professor of Early Modern European History at the University of Warwick, comments on the Prime Minister announcing the reopening of pubs on 4 July.
'Over the many centuries of their existence, public houses have faced countless challenges - from moral concerns via government suspicions to health anxieties. This pandemic has no doubt brought one of the toughest tests yet. Any measure designed to help them re-open must be welcome, not just for their own economic viability but also given the multitude of functions they serve in their local communities. Patrons are likely to understand that it is too early to resume drinking 'as normal' and most will be prepared to accept some extra screening and regulations. Whether it is practicable to ask venues to manually record contact details seems questionable, however, especially at busy times and considering that many will operate with fewer staff.'
Beat Kümin is Professor of Early Modern European History at the University of Warwick, author of Drinking Matters: Public Houses and Social Exchange in Early Modern Central Europe (2007), co-editor of Public Drinking in the Early Modern World (2012) and co-founder of the Drinking Studies Network.
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