In today’s lesson we will focus on English language fluency. We often use a news story or something topical to help keep the English lesson interesting, and this week talk about English pubs reopening.
If you have listened to us before you know that we focus a lot on repeat listening as a key to learn the English language. The problem with repeat listening is that it can get boring and bored language students don’t repeat listen.
So one key to our “listen and learn” system is to encourage language learners to keep at the repeat listening and in return we will make the lessons interesting.
We keep our lessons topical and useful. Today we not only talk about pubs but the English language used in statistics, we use English economic vocabulary and common everyday English. There is a
lot packed into every lesson so you can find more to learn and practice with repeat listening.
Pubs Lockdown Distancing Brits
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Hi there and welcome to this podcast from Adept English. Podcasts are our free English classes. We make it easier for you to learn. English language tuition, while listening to interest subjects. Let’s be topical and learn English today by talking about something which is going on in the UK, and which is probably also happening in your country too.
So this week in the UK, pubs and restaurants have been allowed to open again for the first time since 20th March. Of course, so-called ‘social distancing’ rules need to be applied – so for example in the UK, there’s a rule that says that everyone must stay 1 metre distant from other people. That’s unless of course, you’re ‘members of the same household’ – that means you live together. So until relatively recently that distance was 2 metres – and it’s meant to be ‘based on sound scientific evidence’.
Strange that it’s reduced, but in fact in different countries there’s different rules about that distance, about social distancing. Maybe it’s difficult to arrive at a consensus, an agreement. Anyway, you’re supposed to do 2 metres where possible, but no less than 1 metre. This will allow schools to open again from September and parents to go back to work. The other advice is ‘sit side-by-side, rather than face-to-face’, keep doors and windows open, avoid loud talking, don’t sing – that amuses me – and wear a face mask if you’re in a crowded place. I didn’t realise singing was so hazardous! Also wash your hands frequently – that advice continues.
In the UK, it seems as though the emphasis has shifted, has changed, so that getting our economy up and running again has a priority. I support this – it’s necessary to allow businesses to get going again, after such a long time of being closed. In order to generate money to pay for schools, hospitals and public services, we need to have businesses operating and generating income for the Exchequer.
The Exchequer, E-X-C-H-E-Q-U-E-R is the account at the Bank of England into which tax money is paid for the whole country. And that account must be looking a bit empty at the moment! So from 4th July, different businesses have been allowed to open – and that includes the great British pub. It’s estimated that the hospitality industry – so that industry includes pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels, as well as conference centres (those are places where you might have a big business meeting) – the hospitality industry is the third largest employer in the UK.
That means the hospitality sector is number three on the list of industries employing most people. It represents £130 billion in annual turnover – so that’s the money that it takes from its customers.
So what’s happening with the pubs? Of course there are thousands of independent pubs, but one of Britain’s largest pub chains – operating over 1,000 pubs in the UK – is J D Wetherspoons. They are cautiously opening from Saturday 4th July. ‘Cautiously’ means ‘carefully, with attention to the dangers’. And there are a number of restrictions in place.
You must not go to the pub in large groups of people. Don’t go if you’re unwell. As you arrive, you must use a hand sanitizer – that’s the gel or liquid which you use to clean your hands. Staff, S-T-A-F-F – that means the people who work in the pub – staff will being doing much more cleaning of tables and surfaces and some pub staff will be wearing personal protective equipment or PPE, especially those in the kitchens, cooking the food.
Social distancing must be observed and you can’t linger, you can’t stand around at the bar, like you might normally do. You order and go back to your table. And ideally, you put your order in using an online app. Children must remain seated – and the front doors of the pub will be open. That’s fine in June, but hopefully we’re not still going to be doing this in December. And the pub reserves the right to restrict the number of people – they can stop you entering because the pub’s full. Normally, this doesn’t happen – pubs are happy to take as many people as can be fitted into the building. Anyone who’s experienced British pubs on New Years Eve will know this!
A photograph of a beer on a counter in an English pub, to help explain the changes in British pubs after lockdown.
So it’s good that the pubs are opening, but I think it will be a very different pub experience. My 2nd daughter has her 18th birthday soon – so she’ll be old enough to drink alcohol in the pub for the first time. I wonder what her first experience will be like?
Some interesting statistics were out this week – someone collected answers to the question ‘Do Brits miss going to the pub?’ Obviously, if you know anything about British culture, you’ll know that the local pub is an important part of it and there’s a long history. Many of our pubs date back centuries. And there’s a lot of tradition. In towns and large cities, but particularly in small country villages, the pub is at the centre, it’s where people meet, it’s where people get to know each other and it’s where the life and soul of the town or village is.
So what were the results of the survey and what were the answers to ‘Do Brits miss going to the pub?’ in lockdown? Well, nearly a quarter of people – that’s 24% said that they don’t go to the pub anyway and 20% said that they hadn’t missed going to the pub at all and 28% said that they’d missed it ‘not very much’! Oh dear, that’s not good news for the pub industry in the UK – that’s 72% of people who’re really ‘not that bothered’ about the whole pub thing! Only 7% of people said that they’d missed going to the pub ‘very much’ and 20% said they’d missed going ‘a fair bit’. We’ll have to see what happens…
Another thing to think about. While pubs and bars have been closed during the lockdown period, have people been drinking more alcohol or less? Well, I think the answer to this is unclear at the moment. Apparently sales of alcohol from supermarkets jumped up by 31% in March alone. It’s difficult to know whether this represents more overall drinking – because of course, pubs and bars were shut. It’s not necessarily a total increase. Also back in March, many of us were still ‘stocking up’ because of lockdown. The verb ‘to stock up’ means to buy more than you need, because you’re fearful that the supply will stop. Actually that didn’t happen – but it’s impossible to know how much of what was bought has been consumed.
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My experience amongst friends and family is that people may have started off in lockdown drinking a bit more, especially not having to get up early in the morning to do school runs or to go to work – but also as a way of managing anxiety in this strange world we’re in. But my impression is that most people, as they’ve got used to lockdown, they’ve eased back on the drinking, and they’re drinking less again. So much of the extra alcohol that we bought back in March, may be still sitting unfinished in the drinks cabinet or in the cupboard. Let’s hope so – we don’t want to be a nation with an alcohol problem as well as bad virus statistics and difficult economic statistics as well.
Anyway, I hope that’s interesting – and that it possibly reflects and makes you think about the situation in your own country. I hope also that’s provided you with some useful, up-to-date vocabulary. Terms like ‘lockdown’, ‘members of your own household’, ‘social distancing’ were not so common before all of this – so it’s good for you to learn these terms, as you’ll meet them again.
If you like what we’re doing on the podcasts, but you want more structured learning – and to practise understanding English conversation with two people speaking, then buy our Course One, Activate Your Listening. It’s available to buy right now on our website at adeptenglish.com and it will give you lots of good listening material to help you learn. English language, but with all the explanation and help that you need. Learn English quickly or more quickly with Adept English.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.