As reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA), the Government detailed its roadmap to emerge from lockdown in Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s Covid-19 recovery strategy on 11 May – with “at least some” pubs and hospitality venues to open no earlier than 4 July in the plan’s third and final stage.
In light of the numerous challenges facing “higher risk” businesses such as pubs, the Government has established five new ministerial-led task forces to develop plans for how and when ailing sectors can safely relaunch.
Alongside bodies to map out the revival of non-essential retail, recreation and leisure, places of worship and international aviation, the Government has created a BEIS-led task force to brainstorm the reopening of pubs and restaurants.
With the help of sector stakeholders including UKHospitality (UKH) and the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the pub and restaurant task force will gather intelligence and expert input from across the industry to create a relevant reopening plan that chimes with public health guidance.
“We greatly welcome the creation of this task force for pubs and restaurants and will be providing our expertise to help our sector to open as safely and quickly as possible,” the BBPA’s Emma McClarkin said of the announcement.
“As an organisation that already works closely with BEIS, we look forward to continuing our work with them to ensure the recovery of our sector.
“In contributing to the task force, we aim to get pubs on track for reopening as soon as possible. We will be sharing all our intelligence and expertise on the beer and pub sector. We will also provide pubs for pilot testing of new Covid-19 secure guidelines.
“We believe that pubs should only open when safe to do so, but without additional support now – particularly for those who won’t be able to reopen sooner – many more of our nation’s pubs and the brewers that supply them with beer will struggle to survive closure and beyond. We will, therefore, continue to press the Government for the ongoing support our sector needs.”
Need for lateral thinking
The primary challenge facing the new task force will be to formulate a plan for Britain’s pubs to reopen safely under social distancing measures that state Brits must remain two metres away from anyone outside their household wherever possible.
“We have been persistent in pointing out that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to reopening businesses, even within the same sector, making such representations last month to Downing Street and the Treasury,” UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said.
“A great deal of lateral thinking and planning will be required to help businesses open, hence our efforts to draw up protocols and work co-creatively with stakeholders to inform hospitality sub-sectors on how best to prepare venues for safe reopenings. This is for the safety of staff, customers and visitors, and for hospitality to help drive economic recovery.
“It is, therefore, very welcome to hear that the Government will be listening to our recommendations, to jointly find solutions to reopening. We look forward to continuing to engage with the cabinet office and alongside members, in playing our part and having a clear message to support the reopening of hospitality businesses when it is safe to do so.”
The announcement of the Government’s task force was also welcomed by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) national chairman Nik Antona, who commented: “Pubs are a key part of our social fabric and it is vital that people can safely support them when they reopen so that they can weather the difficult weeks and months ahead.
“It’s clear that some types of pubs won’t be able to open and operate successfully with social distancing measures, and we want the Government to pay particular attention to how they can support those pubs to ensure their future survival.
“Pubs will require ongoing financial support both during lockdown and after restrictions lift, and we look forward to working with the task force to ensure clarity and support is outlined in every step of the process.”
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