PM "optimistic" about early reopening of pubs and restaurants in England

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

PM "optimistic" about pubs and restaurants in England reopening earlier Boris Johnson Coronavirus

Related tags: Restaurant, Pub, Coronavirus

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has suggested to MPs that pubs and restaurants in England could begin to reopen earlier than originally planned.

While there is currently no official date set for when pubs and restaurants across the country will be able to reopen, Government guidance published earlier this month​ state that some hospitality businesses could be allowed to do so in early July.

However, speaking yesterday (27 May) to the Government's cross-party Liaison Committee, the Prime Minister said that plan may be able to be pushed forward '​faster than previously thought'.

He said: "On hospitality... 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. 

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

In the same meeting, the PM also asked top Government scientists to review the two-metre social distancing rule in the 'hope' it could be reduced.

A recent Hospitality Leaders Poll by MCA Insight/HIM showed that the majority of operators believed the hospitality industry would benefit greatly from halving the social distancing rule​ from two metres to just one, bringing it in line with contact gap recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

The results, taken from a poll of 400 founders or board level operators across restaurants, pubs and food to go, found that 40% of operators believe their businesses would be viable with a one-metre social distancing rule as opposed to two metres, with a further 36% saying it was a possibility.

For independent restaurant respondents this figure rises, with 43% saying that a one-metre rule could make their business viable.

However, 20% of respondents say the reduced distance wouldn’t make a difference and that many restaurants wouldn’t be able to operate at all under any social distancing measures.

Related topics: Business

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