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PM eyes earlier pub reopening and reduced social distancing measures

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Government address: Boris Johnson answered questions from the Liaison Committee including queries on the hospitality industry reopening
Government address: Boris Johnson answered questions from the Liaison Committee including queries on the hospitality industry reopening

Related tags: coronavirus, Prime minister, Government, Pubs

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “optimistic” about pubs reopening earlier than he first thought.

Answering questions from the Liaison Committee yesterday (Wednesday 27 May), Johnson also mentioned reducing the social distance amount from the current two metres in the hospitality sector.

Current World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance states one-metre distancing between people is suitably safe while other countries claim 1.5 metres or 1.8 metres is fine with the UK currently using a two-metre limit.  

Johnson said the Government was attempting “to go as fast as we can” to reopen hospitality businesses, which follows the Government recovery document stating it hoped to open businesses, including some pubs from 4 July​.

Reduce the distance

The guidance, which one trade body said was good news for pubs that can meet social distancing requirements by July, stated: “The next step will also take place when the assessment of risk warrants further adjustments to the remaining measures.

“The Government’s current planning assumption is this step will be no earlier than 4 July, subject to the five tests justifying some or all of the measures below, and further detailed scientific advice, provided closer to the time, on how far we can do.”

Johnson told the Liaison Committee: “My own hope is as we make progress in getting the virus down, in reducing the incidence, we will able to reduce that distance, which will be particularly valuable on transport and clearly the hospitality sector.”

More optimistic

The Prime Minister asked Government scientists to review the two-metre social distancing rule, in the hope it could be reduced.

He added: “We are really trying to go as fast as we can. It is really difficult to bring forward hospitality measures in a way that involves social distancing.

“I am much more optimistic about that than I was. We may be able to do things faster than I previously thought.”

This followed a poll of hospitality industry bosses carried out by HIM and MCA on behalf of The Morning Advertiser​, of the 302 pub responses received, 39% said it would be more viable to operate with one-metre social distancing rules​ in place.

A further 37% of respondents said it would ‘maybe’ be more viable, while 21% said no and 4% said they didn’t know.

Read the latest digital edition of The Morning Advertiser​ – for free – by clicking here​.

Related topics: Legislation, UnitedWeStand

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