Yesterday (17 January), Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show that Coronavirus restrictions will not be scrapped in one 'big bang', but that a phased transition out of the national lockdown from March was likely as more of the population is vaccinated.
He said: “The aim is by the middle of February to have 88% of those most at risk of dying of coronavirus with their first jab, and by the early spring to have 99% – so that is the milestone if you like.
“I think it is true to say that when we get to a situation in the early spring, perhaps March, if we succeed in hitting those targets – we have made good process so far – we can start to think about the phased transition out of the national lockdown.
“I think it is fair to say it won’t be a big bang, if you like, it will be done phased, possibly back through the tiered approach that we had before.”
Responding to Raab's comments, Lord said hospitality businesses must be allowed to open at the same time as non-essential retail, and be given adequate notice to prepare for reopening.
He tweeted: "Hospitality must reopen at the same time as non-essential retail.
"We must also be given at least two weeks notice, to enable to re-stock, re-order, rota staff etc."
Under England's previous Tier system, which was in place until national lockdown restrictions were imposed earlier this month, non-essential retail was allowed to remain open in Tiers 1, 2 and 3, but ordered to close under Tier 4.
All hospitality businesses in Tier 3 areas were forced to shut, with pubs and bars in Tier 2 regions that were unable to serve a 'substantial meal' also ordered to close.
The lack of a clear roadmap out of lockdown restrictions for hospitality is an ongoing concern for businesses.
Last week it was reported that hospitality venues in England may be forced to remain closed for five months, with a Government source touting the early May bank holiday as a 'realistic' reopening date.
However, Nicholls recently told BigHospitality's sister site MCA that Easter is the ‘most ambitious’ reopening date for hospitality.
She dismissed rumours that 3 May had been talked about centrally as a proposed reopening date, and instead suggested this could be a realistic endpoint for social distancing restrictions.