Greene King - Logo

timeline of pandemic

The 16 months from March 2020 until July 2021 were like a rollercoaster ride for the hospitality industry. To help you make sense of what happened - and when - here are the key dates...

To download a digital copy of the COVID Stories book - Click Here.

Timeline of a pandemic


First step on the roadmap to reopening

On 12 April 2021, pubs in England welcomed customers back – albeit for outdoor service only.

MONDAY 12 APRIL 2021 was a momentous day for pubs and the hospitality industry in England. It was the first – very tentative – step towards the long winter lockdown relaxing a little. Venues were allowed to open up for outdoor service only, with social distancing measures in place to remain Covid safe. Of course, not all our pubs and restaurants were able to enjoy this easing of restrictions due to lack of suitable outside space, and pubs in Wales and Scotland had to wait until 26 April until their restrictions eased. But around 30% of English pubs welcomed customers into their gardens and outdoor spaces, as others eagerly awaited the next step of the government’s roadmap in May – and some even longer than that. Despite the fresh spring weather, we hoped that everyone would look forward to pubs being open for the first time in four months, so we headed to Cambridgeshire, to find out…


Step two...customers are allowed to come inside pubs!

While some pubs were able to open their gardens to customers in April 2021, many others were waiting with great anticipation until MONDAY 17 MAY when indoor hospitality could properly resume

IT’S TRUE TO say that while there was some relief when pubs were allowed to reopen for outdoor service in April 2021, only around 600 of our managed pubs had gardens large enough to welcome customers in a way that was safe. The majority had to wait until 17 May, when the government’s roadmap allowed customers back inside pubs – and Scottish customers could enjoy an alcoholic drink indoors, once again. The day couldn’t come soon enough. The weather had turned unseasonably cold, wet and windy over most of the UK, making al fresco pub visits less appealing than they were the month before. Although restrictions were still in place, it remained a day of positivity for team members and customers, alike. We angled our lens to Scotland and the north west to witness this next key stage…


Thank you, you've been amazing

The pandemic didn’t stop team members from doing great things for good causes. From supporting the NHS to raising much-needed funds for charities, we were blown away by everyone’s efforts

CLAPPING AND SUPPORTING the NHS, donating food, hand sanitiser and PPE to people who needed it most, cooking hot meals for key workers and nursing staff battling on Covid wards, raising money for charities whose donations plummeted... the list of good works carried out by team members during the pandemic goes on and on. We know that an awesome £1.5 million was raised for our official charity partner Macmillan during a pandemic year, but it’s impossible to quantify the collective amounts raised nationally for good causes. Our employee app, Kingdom, was packed with truly amazing news from pubs and people up and down the country who used their time, creativity and goodwill for the greater good. Lockdowns, home working, furlough and self-isolation simply meant that people went online to help others, or when pubs were open, they ramped up their efforts. And we’ve loved reading about what everyone achieved, under the most testing of circumstances, so here’s a small selection of images that shows the breadth of giving that went on...