REAL ale fans in Stourbridge and Halesowen have welcomed plans to permit pubs to re-open fully without restrictions from July 19.

The Stourbridge & Halesowen branch of CAMRA has welcomed Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement on Monday giving the go ahead for the further lifting of Covid-19 restrictions subject to confirmation on July 12.

The relaxation of coronavirus measures will mean pubgoers will be able to go back to ordering and chatting at the bar after many months of having to rely on table service and adhering to the rule of six indoors.

Steve Pratt, press officer of the Stourbridge & Halesowen branch of CAMRA, said: “We are really looking forward to the familiar, traditional experience of visiting our local pubs and being able to chat to friends and order drinks at the bar. We will also be able to meet in larger groups inside the pub and socialise in a friendly way.

"The removal of the Covid-19 restrictions will enable our traditional wet-led pubs to fully open and play their important part in community life. We just need to be sensible in protecting ourselves and others from spreading the virus. We hope this will encourage more people to return to our local pubs so that they can once again survive and thrive and serve the local community.”

Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb has also welcomed the proposed lifting of restrictions which will mean people will no longer be required to wear facemasks in pubs and other venues.

The Tory MP praised the "UK's brilliant vaccination rollout" for paving the way for the relaxation and she said: "There is mounting evidence that vaccines are seriously weakening the link between Covid infections and hospitalisation.

"At some point we have to balance the risk of the virus against the risk of continuing restrictions that are causing a great deal of harm to people ‘s mental health and the economy. I believe this point has now been reached and we must learn to live with this virus that is not going away, while remaining cautious too."