After four months of being forced to stay closed due to lockdown, the hospitality industry has finally been given the green light to reopen in England from Saturday 4 July.
Some pub and restaurant owners have expressed concerns about being able to comply with Covid-secure regulations when customers are drinking, and hospitality workers have told The Independent they are worried about returning to their jobs under current circumstances.
Despite the fact that Boris Johnson announced that social distancing rules will be reduced from two metres to one metre from Saturday, which will make it easier for venues to reopen, it will still be a challenge for smaller pubs and restaurants.
This is why some places, including London’s famous Le Caprice restaurant, have had to close permanently.
The reopening of pubs and restaurant forms part of the prime minister’s “roadmap” for easing lockdown restrictions.
In describing “step three” of the lockdown-easing plans in May, Mr Johnson said the hospitality sector would reopen “at the earliest by July” and that this was subject to scientific advice.
Stage one included the return to work for certain industries, unlimited exercise and permission to use parks, while stage two included the reopening of some non-essential shops and the return of certain year groups to schools.
Ministers hope that reopening pubs and restaurants will prevent up to 3.5 million workers in the hospitality sector from losing their jobs.
London-based pub group Young’s said it will reopen all of its 276 sites from Monday 20 July having been closed since March.
The company is requesting that visitors make bookings via an app before going to one of its pubs.
Restaurants will also reopen in England from 4 July.
Like with pubs, they will also be required to maintain social distancing.
Up until now, restaurants had been permitted to provide takeaway services if they were able to do so safely, while enforcing social distancing guidelines.
There is no set date for when pubs and restaurants can reopen in Wales. However, Scotland’s hospitality sector is set to reopen on 6 July and in Northern Ireland, hotels, bars, pubs and restaurants can reopen from 3 July.
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