Indoor service opening later than shops ‘due to social contact’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Government rules: pubs can reopen for outside trading only with restrictions in place on Monday 12 April (image: Getty/yagmradam)
Government rules: pubs can reopen for outside trading only with restrictions in place on Monday 12 April (image: Getty/yagmradam)

Related tags: Government, Legislation, Coronavirus, Legal

Allowing non-essential retail to reopen inside before pubs are permitted is due to limiting social contact, The Morning Advertiser (MA) understands.

A senior Government minister told The MA ​yesterday (Monday 29 March) hospitality had been hit so hard by restrictions because of the social interaction that takes place in venues.

This comes after it was announced non-essential retail would be allowed to extend their opening hours until 10pm Monday to Saturday when permitted to reopen to “give people greater flexibility to avoid peak times and ease transport pressures” according to the Government.

Night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and operator Sacha Lord alongside Punch founder Hugh Osmond will legally challenge the Government’s decision to reopen pubs later than non-essential retail.

Osmond and Lord wrote to the Government on Friday 12 March demanding “evidence or justification for the prioritisation of non-essential retail over hospitality” by Wednesday 17 March.

Cost to the sector

No new evidence was supplied by the Government during this time, according to the duo, and the case was then moved to the High Court for an expedited judicial review.

While pubs are permitted to reopen for outside trading only on Monday 12 April, this means three in five pubs across the UK will be forced to remain closed​.

These figures from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), which also estimated the cost to the sector of staying shut will be £1.5bn.

Greene King boss Nick Mackenzie voiced his disappointment at pubs not being allowed to reopen alongside non-essential retail, hairdressers and gyms.

“Opening pub gardens in April simply isn’t viable so many pubs will have to remain closed,” he said.

Further guidance

Restrictions imposed on the sector for the month of outdoor service include the ‘rule of six’ and table service.

While further guidance is expected to be announced by the Government next week (Monday 5 April – one week before external reopening is permitted), it is understood rules could be based upon the smoke-free regulations​ for outside structures.

The Health Act 2006, part one, section two states: “If there is a ceiling or roof and more than 50% of the walls are present, the premises is substantially enclosed and smoking cannot take place.

“No account can be taken of any doors, windows or other structures that can be opened or shut.”

Related topics: Legislation

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