AS PUBS across the county prepare to reopen, they are having to work out how they will keep punters safe.

Many landlords are delighted customers will be able to return from July 4 as the Government continues to ease the coronavirus lockdown.

But there are big changes ahead.

Measures such as social distancing, intensive cleaning and reducing contact between people will be needed.

To minimise the spread of coronavirus, table service is set to replace going up to the bar, ketchup sachets will stand in for bottles, and pints should be ordered by smartphone, according to new government guidance.

At The White Lion Hotel in Seaford, which has been closed for almost 100 days, there will be social distancing, caps on numbers, and plastic screens around the bar.

Landlord Michael Treacy said he had been “on tenterhooks for weeks” wondering when the pub would be able to open.

“We are so excited to finally have been given the nod,” he said. “It is a huge relief to be able to finally say we are opening on July 4.”

“We’re just a small family run business, so the coronavirus lockdown has really put us through the wringer,” he added.

“A lot of these bigger corporations can absorb their losses, but for smaller businesses it’s much, much harder.”

There will be a number of new health and safety measures at the pub.

Michael said: “We have been doing everything we can to ensure The White Lion is as safe as possible, including implementing social distancing measures, staff training, risk assessments and enhanced cleaning regimes, with a focus on touch points (objects customers commonly touch).”

There will be hand sanitiser stations, a table service only policy, and seating will be kept apart.

Michael said: “We hope everyone can be understanding of our health and safety measures. We know everyone is keen to get back to the pub so it’s important we all cooperate and follow the guidelines put in place.

“We can’t wait to open and we are really excited to get going, get the beers flowing and settle into the new normal.”

The Government guidance suggests the atmosphere is likely to be very different when pubs reopen.

Keeping customers further apart means there will be fewer people. Background music, or football matches on the TV, will also have to be turned down.

The guidance reads: “All venues should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other.

“This includes, but is not limited to, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult.”

This is because when people start shouting or speaking up, they are more likely to launch the virus into the air and spread it to other customers through “aerosol transmission”.

There are likely to be socially distanced queues outside, and nearby pubs may also have to coordinate and even stagger opening times to make sure people are not lining up or taking public transport at the same time.