On Monday coronavirus restrictions will be removed at pubs, cafes and restaurants, although some businesses will still ask customers to wear masks.

Masks will no longer be mandatory, and table service only will end.

There will be no legal requirement to check in to a venue using the NHS Covid app, although customers can if they wish.

As 'Freedom Day' approaches, Dave Richardson, spokesman for the Oxford branch of real ale group CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), welcomed the end of restrictions.

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But he said some pubs were experiencing serious staffing problems as some of them were being forced to self-isolate.

Oxford Mail:

He said: "At long last pubs are able to trade without restrictions, meaning that many can start making some money for the first time since March 2020.

"But this isn't the end of their troubles, as staff shortages exacerbated by the large number of staff having to self-isolate after being in contact with an infected person are a real worry."

Oxford Mail:

Mr Richardson added: "The pubs industry reckons that one in five staff are self-isolating, and local pubs that were forced to close temporarily because of this included the White Rabbit and Royal Blenheim in Oxford.

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"It is very sad to see some publicans giving up for good because of staff shortages, such as Andy Brotherston at the Swan Inn in Faringdon who posted: 'To have come through the last incredibly difficult 18 months still standing and to be defeated in this way is particularly gutting.'

The CAMRA spokesman said pubs now needed drinkers' support more than ever.

He added: "They are battling increased costs, staff shortages and fragile consumer confidence.

Oxford Mail:

"While many younger customers might welcome a return to the pub experience without restrictions, many older people could now be reluctant to go.

"We expect some pubs to continue to regulate customer numbers, with some poised to continue table service if they have enough staff to cope."