Boris Johnson expected to announce easing of lockdown restrictions for pubs

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

'Watch this space': 'you will be hearing more about what we want to do with not just non-essential retail but with the hospitality sector from July 4,' Johnson explained
'Watch this space': 'you will be hearing more about what we want to do with not just non-essential retail but with the hospitality sector from July 4,' Johnson explained

Related tags: Pub, Beer, Alcoholic beverage, coronavirus

It’s being widely reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will unveil a raft of relaxed Covid-19 lockdown measures on Tuesday 23 June to pave the way for pubs, bars and restaurants to resume trade on 4 July.

Johnson is expected to hold a series of meetings with senior Government ministers and experts today (Monday 22 June) before updating the House of Commons on Tuesday.

“The disease is increasingly under control and I just want people to reflect on that important fact. It’s going down, we are getting it down,” Johnson said in a Downing Street interview.  

“So, of course, as we make that progress it will be possible to open up more and you will be hearing more about what we want to do with not just non-essential retail but with the hospitality sector from July 4, and we’re sticking like glue to the plan I set out on May 10.

"But it’s very important we don’t lose our vice-like grip on the disease. We’ve got to keep it on the floor where we’ve got it.

“On the progress on social distancing, watch this space – and you won’t have much more to wait now.”

This news comes after the official UK Covid-19 death toll rose by 43 to 42,632 according to the most recent figures announced by the Department for Health and Social Care. 

What’s more, it follows the downgrading of the UK’s Covid-19 alert level from four to three on Friday 19 June meaning that the gradual relaxation of restrictions and social distancing​ measures can now take place. 

However, a spokesperson for No.10 caveated that a surge in infections could see to lockdown measures being reintroduced.

“The more we open up, the more important it is everyone follows the social distancing rules,” they explained.

"We will not hesitate to put the handbrake on to stop the virus running out of control.”

Relaxed two-metre rule? 

The announcement comes after a number of pubs in Guernsey and Jersey resumed trading on 15 and 16 June​ respectively, albeit under strict social distancing rules.

It now looks increasingly likely that Johnson will announce a reduced “one-metre plus” social distancing rule for the UK following a review of the two-metre restriction, which severely restricts pubs, bars and restaurants’ ability to trade.

As reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA)​, a survey by The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) found that while three quarters of pubs could reopen in some way, shape or form, under two-metre social distancing rules, 82% of them would do so at less than half of pre-pandemic turnover levels.

Discussing potential new measures for the hospitality sector, health secretary Matt Hancock said that screens, facemasks and back-to-back seating in venues could help minimise the risks if the two-metre rule is changed.

Additionally, like venues on Guernsey and Jersey, it’s predicted that reopened pubs may require drinkers to register as they enter a venue. 

One operator on Guernsey told MA ​that guests are required to give a name and contact number upon entry with details retained for 14 days so that visitors can be tracked and traced should a spike in Covid-19 cases be reported. 

Related topics: Legislation

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