Further lockdown measures could be eased earlier than expected, with English pubs possibly reopening this month.
Operation ‘save summer’ looks to be a go, with multiple reports suggesting that government ministers are eyeing up June 22 as reopening date for pubs and restaurants – at least two weeks earlier than the previously mooted July 4 deadline. According to the Independent, a group of six government ministers, including Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, and Business Secretary Alok Sharma – who have dubbed themselves the ‘Save Summer Six’ – are currently working on plans to speed up the reopening.
The new timeline comes as Business Secretary Alok Sharma warned the government just last week that 3.5 million jobs would be at risk if the hospitality sector remained closed, with only a small number of establishments adapting to a takeaway business model amid the UK lockdown. Per Whitehall sources, the six ministers are planning to allow bars and restaurants with outdoor seating areas to re-open this month, in a bid to prevent mass redundancies across the nation as businesses continue to struggle due to closures.
The Independent also notes that the current two-metre social distancing rule is being reassessed, with Boris Johnson and Alok Sharma making the case that it should be cut to one metre, in order to allow even more establishments to reopen whilst following the rules of social distancing. Furthermore, any businesses reopening on this date would be required to create distance between tables, and have all service provided outside – where the virus is less likely to be transmitted – with the use of apps for table service encouraged.
There are currently no further updates on when establishments will be able to resume service indoors, but we will of course keep you updated. In the meantime, June 22 might make a very important date for your diary…