NEWS that pubs may reopen earlier than originally expected is good news for licensees and revellers alike, but must come with a word of caution.

According to reports, June 22 - not July 4 - is now being targeted as the date when hostelries with beer gardens or other outdoor spaces can begin to welcome back customers.

Some bosses think that the government will eventually decide to take things a stage further and allow pubs to open indoors from June 22 too - mainly because few will be able to turn a profit on outdoor sales alone. The authorities are under pressure to encourage pubs to reopen because of the high number of jobs at stake in a hospitality industry which has been locked down for the best part of three months.

With businesses desperate to start up again, and some already having fallen by the wayside, you can understand the feelings of landlords and landladies. Customers too, can't wait to begin socialising again after being cooped up for so long. Meanwhile debate surrounds whether social distancing between customers, and staff, should be cut from two metres to one when pubs do open their doors. Doing so would give firms a much higher chance of making money to survive but also increases the risk of transmission of coronavirus. A lot of people may also be nervous about going out to pubs again.

It all makes for an uncertain future for the industry, whatever happens next.