It’s been confirmed that outdoor hospitality in England can reopen on April 12, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last night.
Speaking at a television conference at Downing Street, Johnson confirmed the roadmap is on track and planned easements can go ahead after the government’s ‘four tests’ for easing Covid restrictions had been met.
However he continued to urge caution, with no changes to social contact rules and many restrictions still in place.
Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to 6 people or 2 households.
From Monday 12 April additional premises will be able to reopen – with the rules on social contact applying.
Hospitality venues will be able to open for outdoor service, with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcohol, and no curfew. The requirement to eat and drink while seated will remain.
Commenting, Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality said: “We’re delighted that hospitality can start to emerge from restrictions next week as planned. Hospitality is working very hard to be ready for the opportunity to trade with outdoor openings and to commence indoor trading on the 17th of May, before that long-awaited and landmark moment on the 21st of June.
“Given the on-going success of the vaccination rollout and the very low incidence of new infections and serious illness, we welcome today’s reassurance and certainty that there is no reason or need to deviate from this roadmap.
“We are also reassured by the comments of the Prime Minister regarding the use of vaccination certification in hospitality. This would have been very difficult to implement and placed a huge amount of additional stress on an industry that has suffered enough. Such a scheme would have hindered the ability of thousands of hospitality businesses to return to sustainable levels of trade, to recover and to be viable, and we urge the government to avoid this at every stage, and at all costs.”
The majority of outdoor settings and attractions can reopen, including outdoor hospitality, zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances events.
Indoor settings must only be visited alone or with household groups, with outdoor settings limited to either six people or two households.
This includes non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers, beauty and nail salons; and indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and spas (but not including saunas and steam rooms, which are due to open at Step 3).
Overnight stays away from home in England will be permitted and self-contained accommodation can also reopen, though must only be used by members of the same household or support bubble.
Public buildings such as libraries and community centres will also reopen.
Funerals can continue with up to 30 attendees. Weddings, outdoor receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open).
A Covid-status certification system will be developed over the coming months which could allow higher-risk settings to be opened up more safely and with more participants.
Over the coming months, a system will be developed which will take into account three factors: vaccination, a recent negative test, or natural immunity (determined on the basis of a positive test taken in the previous six months).
Events pilots will take place from mid-April to trial the system. All pilots are checking Covid status, initially this will be through testing alone but in later pilots vaccination and acquired immunity are expected to be alternative ways to demonstrate status.
The next step in England’s reopening roadmap will see hospitality venues, including hotels, pubs and restaurants, permitted to open indoors.