The easing of restrictions on July 19 as confirmed last night by the Prime Minister brings a ‘huge relief’ for hospitality venues, desperate to get back to trading at full capacity.
Yesterday evening at a televised press conference, Boris Johnson addressed the nation to confirm that all Covid restrictions will be relaxed next Monday, 19 July, in England.
He said that the four tests to proceed to the fourth step of England’s ‘roadmap to recovery’ had been met.
For the hospitality industry, this means that all venues will be able to operate at full capacity with no social distancing in a week’s time. Masks will also no longer be a legal requirement and venues will not have to enforce the NHS track and trace system.
However, Johnson warned: “It is absolutely vital that we precede with caution: this pandemic is not over. We cannot simply revert instantly from Monday 19 July to life as it was before Covid. We will stick to our plan to lift legal restrictions and to lift social distancing, but we expect and recommend that people wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with those you don’t normally.”
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality said: “Confirmation that social distancing measures will be lifted next Monday brings huge relief for hospitality venues hoping to finally head back towards normal trading in England. A week from now, for the first time in 16 months they will be able to move towards profitability, which is vital for the future of a sector beset by Covid-related debts.
“For profitability to be reached as soon as possible, it’s vital that businesses are able to reach their own solutions, to suit their settings, satisfy their risk assessments and optimise implementation costs while ensuring safety. The voluntary nature of the Government guidance should ensure that this is achievable.”
Johnson also urged nightclubs and other venues with large crowds to make use of the NHS Covid pass which shows proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity as a means of entry.