PUBS and bars in East Lancashire could benefit from a new initiative that aims to help them start back up again and continue to operate despite new health and safety restrictions.

The Raising the Bar initiative, which is open to both independent outlets and managed operators, aims to help pubs acquire health and safety materials such as plastic screens and to use digital software to allow customers to place orders, and to help landlords manage accounts, plan events and share tips and experience with each other.

It is funded by the Diageo Bar Academy, an American firm that has now expanded to the UK.

Diageo on-trade sales director Melissa Wisdom said: “We know how badly outlets need help to open their doors again.

“We’ve partnered with a range of innovative UK operators to ensure business owners can provide a safe, welcoming space for customers to socialise and celebrate in a socially-distanced way, and still have a great experience,” she added.

The programme also offers to roll out a range of hand-sanitising stations, produced by London-based company CleanedUp, which launched the product at the outset of the pandemic having previously specialised in mobile phone charging docks.

CleanedUp co-founder Charlie Baron said: “Hospitality businesses are the linchpin in bringing people together to socialise and celebrate - something we have all sorely missed during the pandemic.

“So many outlets have been impacted by this crisis and badly need help to open their doors again," he added.

“Pubs and bars are the heartbeat of every community – sustaining hundreds of millions of jobs, often the first foot on the employment ladder for young people.

He added: “When ChargedUp was faced with Covid-related headwinds, we figured we had nothing to lose.

“We threw ourselves completely into CleanedUp and somehow we’ve not just survived but thrived.”

The move from phone charging to hand sanitising helped the company survive what has been a trying time for all kinds of businesses and its founders now hope that expansion into East Lancashire can help the hospitality trade here adapt to the post pandemic world.

Raising the Bar hopes to see CleanedUp machines in operation across East Lancashire soon and will allow pubs and bars to select the size and make of machine that is right for them.

Industry leaders hope that the initiative can provide the boost that the hospitality industry desperately needs.

If you are interested in Raising the Bar, visit: https://www.mydiageo.com/s/login/.