Some hospitality businesses may be able to open in July, PM says

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Some hospitality businesses may be able to open in July says Prime Minister Boris Johnson Coronavirus

Related tags: Government, Coronavirus

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that some parts of the hospitality industry could reopen in July.

In a televised address to the nation, broadcast this evening (10 May), the PM begun to lay out the Government's 'conditional plan' for a gradual easing of the Coronavirus lockdown, which has been in place since 23 March.

Under the plans, some businesses within England's hospitality sector could be able to reopen in July "at the earliest", providing "they are safe and enforce social distancing”.

While Johnson was not specific about which hospitality venues could reopen, according to The Guardian​ ​it is understood that he means a return for cafes and restaurants with outdoor space that can enforce social distancing, rather than pubs, even ones with beer gardens.​ 

More detailed information is expected at 2pm today (11 May), although it's unclear whether this will include any information about when and under what conditions the hospitality industry will start to re-open.

In the short term, despite stressing that there would be “no immediate end to the lockdown” and that people must still to keep within their own household groups, Johnson did say that more outdoor activity would be permitted in England from this week.

People who cannot work from home have also been "actively encouraged" to return to their workplaces, avoiding public transport if possible.

Going forward, the strategy for easing lockdown will continue to focus on suppressing the R value (the number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to), which needs to stay below one to avoid the virus taking off again at speed.

A new Covid Alert System with five levels will govern how quickly restrictions can be eased.

Johnson ordered all restaurants, pubs and bars to close on 20 March, a few days prior to the official lockdown coming into force, as part of the social distancing measures put in place to fight the spread of Covid-19.

“The Prime Minister gave us a sense of the shape of his plan and the journey ahead. Much detail will follow but the focus on saving lives, and saving livelihoods, is an important and positive basis for progress," says UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls.

“Mr Johnson was explicit about his commitment to support those workers whose businesses are not able to return soon, and we remain committed to continuing our dialogue with the Government to achieve that. We have been calling for a more flexible, extended furlough system and today’s statement appears to leave the door open for that."

Related topics: Business

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