WITH pubs given the green light to open this Saturday, hostelries are busy making arrangements to cope with the expected influx of socially distanced drinkers, parched by three months of lockdown.

But for some, the recent good weather proved too irresistable an opportunity to waste.

Enterprising pubs, such as the Star Inn in Woodstock, have joined the handful of taverns around Oxfordshire selling pints to go.

Among those sampling the £5 cling-wrapped pints of draught IPA, was Steven Daniels from Summertown, Oxford, who was on his way to Blenheim Palace.

He said: “I wouldn’t normally pop into a pub for a beer during the day, but it has been so long since I’ve had a proper pint that I couldn’t resist. Saturday still feels a long way off.”

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The coronavirus lockdown rules forbid pubs, bars and restaurants from opening their premises for custom, but entrepreneurial landlords and ladies are helping beleaguered drinkers to toast their good fortune by offering takeaway pints of draft beer and other beverages in sealed plastic cups.

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Rules are strict, however, with no entry to premises, toilets closed and strictly no consumption allowed on site - not even in gardens.

The hospitality industry has been decimated by the lockdown and faces a period of uncertainty while social distancing measures remain in place. Businesses are desperate to start taking in revenue in a bid to stay afloat.

There are fears some pubs and bars may never reopen.

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Among the pubs keen - and legally able, with off-licenses - to serve takeaway ales and fine wines are The Jericho Wine Cafe, in Walton Street; Brew Dog in Cowley Road and the Port Mahon in St Clement's, all in Oxford.

The Crown in Woodstock has been selling takeaway liquid refreshment as has the Coach and Horses in Wallingford, Fleur de lys in Dorchester and the Half Moon at Cuxham.

The Teardrop Bar and the Market Cellar Door in Oxford's reopened Covered Market are selling takeaway beer and wine in so-called 'growler' containers and bottles.

Read more: Oxford pub hits on novel way to keep drinkers and diners socially distanced

Also doing brisk business, with socially distanced queues, are The Maytime Inn in Asthall, and the Angel, in nearby Burford.

Further South, The Freke arms in Hannington, near Faringdon, is serving takeaway bottled drinks, as well as a Sunday roast for delivery or collection.

Landlord Rob Hazel said: "We will continue to do this after lockdown restrictions ease. It would be great for Oxfordshire to know about us".

The community-owned Abingdon Arms in Beckley, has been keeping customers supplied with a range of takeaway meals and at least one cask ale always on tap.

Gabriel Brodetsky, who sits on the pub's management committee, said: "We’re delighted that our tenants Suzy and Alex have supported the local community throughout the Covid emergency. They're doing a great job."