Alert level downgrade brings renewed hope for hospitality sector

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Coronavirus alert level downgrade brings renewed hope for July 4 reopening relaxed social distancing restaurants hospitality

Related tags: Government, Social Distancing, Restaurant, Pub, Coronavirus

The UK's Coronavirus alert level has been downgraded from four to three, which could pave the way for a relaxation of social distancing measures.

The move, which will also lead to renewed hopes of England's hospitality sector being given the go-ahead to reopen in early July, was recommended by The Joint Biosecurity Centre and endorsed by the four chief medical officers of all four nations. 

The decision suggests the Government is on course to move to the next stage of its roadmap for unlocking the economy, which could see some hospitality businesses in the sector reopen on 4 July.

According to the Evening Standard​,​ the easing of restrictions will be stepped up early next week, with Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick set to rush out special legislation to let pubs and diners skip planning rules for the duration of the pandemic to make use of rooftops, terraces and car parks for alfresco eating and drinking.

The downgrade also brings the subject of social distancing back into the spotlight.

Under level three, the virus is considered to be ‘in general circulation’ and indicates there could be a ‘gradual relaxation of restrictions and social distancing measures’. 

At the moment the Government is imposing a two-metre social distancing rule, but there have been urgent calls from both MPs and those in the hospitality sector for this to be halved in order to allow as many businesses as possible to be able to reopen sustainably.  

According to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), failure to reduce the contact gap it will mean 25,000 English pubs, or two thirds of the overall total, will be forced to stay closed post lockdown with no hope of reopening.

Earlier this week it was reported that a ‘comprehensive' review of the two-metre social distancing rule has been ordered​ by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Relaxing the rule would bring the UK into line with the recommendations of The World Health Organization (WHO), which suggests people maintain a distance of at least one metre between each other.

Related topics: Business

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