Peeblesshire News reporter Callum Hodgson has been staying in his native north-east during lockdown. On Saturday, he went out for a pint to mark the reopening of England's pubs...

I DON’T think I have ever been in two minds about going to the pub.

And I never thought I would ever have to write a piece explaining what it is like to go for a drink in one.

But lockdown has made people anxious.

So, as I have been working in England for the past three months, we thought you might like to know what measures pubs are taking south of the border – as Scotland prepares to reopen.

I thought it would be best to pick one I know well – my ‘local’, the one I have frequented since legally allowed to do so.

But this time it was a stranger experience.

This time I actually had to book in advance to make sure I could get in on ‘Super Saturday’.

And on arrival punters were told to use hand sanitiser gel, which was provided.

At the door I was greeted by the ‘host’ who showed me to my allocated seat.

You were not able to move to another area and the only need to stand up was to go to the bar or to the toilet.

A sheet of paper was given so you could write down your name and contact details – just in case you need to be traced in the future. That can make you feel slightly uneasy.

Perspex screens have been installed at the counter and several urinals and toilet stalls were marked out of order.

And there was no entertainment – no jukebox, no pool table and no darts.

The pub’s 18 tables were placed at least two metres apart – so there was no need to come into contact with anybody else.

When buying a drink, you had to follow a one-way system around the bar and there was a contactless card machine; although you could still use cash.

Overall, I would say the pub I visited took all the necessary steps to make it as safe as possible.

There was no overcrowding and everyone stuck to the rules until closing time – which was at 11pm.

Would I visit again? Yes. My name’s in the book for the same table at the same time next week.

I am sure there will be places which are not as organised as my pub.

But my experience was a different, but positive one.

I may, however, take a different view if I receive a phone call.