As the UK’s hospitality industry begins to reopen, reports indicate that beer gardens are already booked out for weeks in advance. Pubs and restaurants in England opened for outdoor dining and drinking on 12 April, with indoor venues currently set to open no earlier than 17 May.
Elaine Hindal, chief executive of alcohol education charity Drinkaware, suggests that “this is a pivotal time for everyone to think about, and possibly recalibrate, their attitude towards drinking alcohol.”
Drinkaware carried out research in 2020, showing that around 26% of adult drinkers were drinking more alcohol during the early stages of lockdown, from March to June last year.
Last December, research also revealed that 16% of UK adults reported drinking more than usual, with 26% believing they should cut down on how much alcohol they drink.
The figures highlighted some particular areas for concern, with more than half of the people surveyed (56%) already drinking at high risk levels – more than 35 units a week for women, and more than 50 units a week for men.
The UK Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines recommend drinking no more than 14 units a week on a regular basis, for both men and women.
The social aspect of hospitality cannot be underestimated. Our local pubs, bars and restaurants play a vital role in our communities and social lives. But as they open their doors, calls are being made for these venues to demonstrate a duty of care towards customers.
As the country emerges from the pandemic, now is perhaps the perfect time for all of us to re-evaluate our relationship with alcohol.
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