The UK government is said to be publishing its guidance for the relaunch of hospitality businesses this week as it continues to work towards a July 4 reopening date for the sector.
Speaking at yesterday’s Coronavirus press briefing, Business Secretary Alok Sharma confirmed that the July date will be the earliest pubs, restaurants and hotels will be allowed to reopen as the government follows its planned roadmap to recovery.
It had been reported that ministers were pushing for pubs, bars and restaurants to be able to reopen their outside spaces as early as June 22, but Sharma’s speech quashed this speculation.
He also said that government will provide ‘further safer working guidance’ for hospitality businesses, for which it has been working with UKHospitality to develop, ‘later this week’.
During the conference Sharma was also asked about the possibility of reducing the 2m distancing rule to 1m in order to help businesses in the sector, a policy many operators say is crucial to survival when they reopen. He said that 2m had been recommended by SAGE and would be ‘kept under review’.
The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had ordered the lockdown of the hospitality sector to be lifted quickly to save the 3.5 million jobs at risk.