After the year we've had, we could all be forgiven for wondering when will the pubs reopen. After all, if you can't look forward to a well-poured pint, the whole world looks a lot less welcoming.
Despite our desperation to return to the local, however, it's clear that we've all got a long way still to go.
So, when will pubs actually reopen? Here's what we know so far.
When will pubs reopen?
Government guidance on the ongoing COVID pandemic is constantly changing so it's not yet been confirmed where pubs will reopen.
Now that the country has returned to a March-style lockdown, hospitality businesses that can't operate as takeaways have been forced to close.
Unsurprisingly, this policy extends to pubs and bars. According to reporting this week, the immediate future looks equally bleak.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, an anonymous source revealed: “The May Day Bank Holiday is more likely the moment you see pubs reopening.” If true, this would mean around five months of total closure for the industry.
The situation was brought into sharp focus by Kate Nicholls, the Chief Executive of UK Hospitality, who wrote on Twitter:
"If pubs, bars and restaurants are not able to open until May then they will have actually been closed for 7 months. With 1 in 5 running out of cash by March even with Govt support that is simply unsustainable."
Progress on the ongoing vaccine rollout notwithstanding, it looks like the next few months will continue to be difficult for the industry.
Are restaurants open in England?
Like pubs, the pandemic has forced restaurants across the country to close. Following a brief respite in December, the current situation is clearly a major blow to the industry.
However, despite the understandable doom and gloom, there are a few caveats within the current guidelines. The laws in Wales, for instance, allow pubs and bars to sell alcoholic drinks to takeaway - providing that they have an existing license.
The Scottish government were enforcing a similar policy until Friday 15th of January when the rules tightened. Meanwhile, in England, cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants - while technically closed - can still serve food and non-alcoholic drinks via takeaway until 23:00.
Obviously, this is of little comfort to the many people working in hospitality and the millions more that they serve. However, it's certainly true that there are ways you can still show your support.
How to help restaurants during COVID
Even though many restaurants are currently closed, there are still plenty of ways you can help. The most obvious is probably to support any local businesses that have pivoted to a takeaway model.
Many restaurants, including those that might not be typically associated with mopeds, have made the switch in recent months. Spending money that you might have spent on a night out is a great way to show support.
A second, perhaps more innovative way to fork out is to buy a meal kit. Many restaurants, including the likes of London favourite Dishoom, are shipping the ingredients for classic dishes across the country for you to make at home.
This means that customers can tuck into a bacon naan roll without ever leaving their front door.
Some restaurants are even offering optimistic customers the chance to purchase vouchers for a future meal. These tokens both guarantee a delicious dinner and provide kitchens with much-needed cash.
If money is tight at the moment, there are plenty of other ways to assist the industry. Posting positive reviews and sharing snaps on social media is a great way to help out the pubs and restaurants you love.
Whatever way you decide to help out, it's clear that now more than ever it will be greatly appreciated.