Ministerial-led task force set up to facilitate safe reopening of pubs and restaurants

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Ministerial-led task force set up to facilitate safe reopening of pubs and restaurants Coronavirus

Related tags: Coronavirus, Government

The Government has set up five ministerial-led task forces to develop plans for how and when businesses in closed sectors such as hospitality can reopen safely.

Describing the task forces as being "crucial" to boosting the economy, the Government says each one will look at developing "new Covid-19 secure guidelines" to reopen businesses where closer contact between people is unavoidable.

One of the task forces, led by the Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy, will specifically focus on facilitating the safe reopening of pubs and restaurants, and will engage with public health experts and key stakeholders from across the industry throughout the process.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson begun to lay out the Government's 'conditional plan' for a gradual easing of the Coronavirus lockdown in a televised address earlier this week.

Under those plans, Johnson said 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”.

Kate Nicholls, chef executive of trade body UKHospitality, has welcomed the announcement of the task forces.

“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,” she says.

“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 re-openings. 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 four other task forces will respectively oversee the reopening of ‘non-essential’ retail outlets; recreation and leisure spots; places of worship; and international aviation operations. 

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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