Pressure is continuing to mount on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to detail plans for reopening the hospitality sector, with just a week to go until he announces his road map out of lockdown.
The Covid Recovery Group have written a letter to the Prime Minister, backed by more than 60 Conservative backbenchers, calling for pubs and restaurants to be allowed to open in a Covid-secure way by Easter, once England’s schools have successfully reopened on March 8.
The letter also says there will be ‘no justification’ for current restrictions once all over-50s have been offered a vaccination and asks for Johnson to commit to a timetable for exiting lockdown.
The group wrote: “COVID is a serious disease and we must control it. However, just like COVID, lockdowns and restrictions cause immense social and health damage, and have a huge impact on people’s livelihoods.
“The vaccine gives us immunity from COVID, but it must also give us permanent immunity from COVID-related lockdowns and restrictions.”
In a separate letter to the Prime Minister, pub chain young’s said there is ‘no reason that bars can’t open in April’ and said the government’s decision to keep hospitality venues closed is based on ‘unproven statistics’.
The company’s chief executive, Patrick Dardis, urged the government “to save our great British pubs”, adding: “We are exasperated at the obvious lack of interest and respect we are getting from this government.”
The Mail on Sunday reports beer gardens and outdoor dining could be allowed to resume as early as 30 March – with the 10pm pub curfew scrapped, as well as the requirement to have a substantial meal with alcohol.