As people across the UK lock themselves down and avoid pubs, bars and restaurants amid the spread of coronavirus, one great British tradition risks falling into obsolescence: Happy Hour.
It’s also a tough time for those venues – as the government warns people to stay away, jobs are on the line up and down the country due to falling revenues and financial insecurity.
So if you’re already missing your weekday evening two-for-one cocktails, and want to do something to help your favourite venue, a group of hospitality professionals has come up with a solution.
#TheVirtualHappyHour campaign is aiming to bring people together for a remote round of drinks, by grabbing a wine, beer, cocktail or coffee and catching up with friends and family digitally.
When #TheVirtualHappyHour finishes, those who took part are encouraged to donate the price of a drink to their group’s favourite bar, pub or restaurant, which is organised by the group “leader” with the venue to ensure a direct transfer of funds.
Venues are also encouraged to promote their #TheVirtualHappyHour on social media, to get more people through their metaphorical doors to enjoy a drink or two.
Steph DiCamillo May, part of the team behind #TheVirtualHappyHour concept, said: “Our hospitality industry is more than just food and drink. They are places where communities unite, where people come to celebrate, commiserate and surround themselves with friends and family in the bad times and the good.
“Social distancing and self-isolation means these occasions are now pretty much impossible, so the #TheVirtualHappyHour team want to encourage people to reconnect safely whilst ensuring we are doing as much as we can to help the bars, pubs and restaurants we love to survive the weeks and months ahead.”
Emma Murphy, co-owner of Hacha, the first bar to benefit from #TheVirtualHappyHour, said: “In this time of social distancing and uncertainty for the industry, #TheVirtualHappyHour is such an inspiring concept that really gives us an incredible feeling of gratitude and hope.
“Not only is it a wonderfully kind gesture of support for the independent bars and restaurants that have already begun to suffer financially, but it unites friends and families, albeit digitally, over a drink or two – something that has been a crucial cornerstone of our culture for centuries.”
To organise your own #TheVirtualHappyHour:
- Set a time and date to meet with your group via a video chat platform such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp or Skype.
- Post a photo of your Happy Hour on Instagram or Facebook, using the hashtag #TheVirtualHappyHour, and tag the venue you are donating to.
- Donate the price of your round to your chosen venue (make sure your group leader organises with the venue the best way to transfer the funds, such as PayPal, BACS or a voucher).
- Watch this Facebook video to find out more.