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Boris Johnson reveals "conditional plan" to reopen hospitality businesses in July

Published:  10 May, 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed tonight that bars and restaurants could start to reopen in two months’ time, if the science supports the plans.

It seems the re-opening would be partial and gradual, and would depend on “a series of big ifs”, and how the spread of the virus continues over the next two months.

Hospitality was the third and final of three steps that the government outlined on Sunday as part of a conditional plan to bring the UK out of Covid-19 lockdown.

As well as looking to gradually reopen schools and allowing people in England and Wales to spend more time outdoors, bars and restaurants could be given the go ahead for a tentative reopening, with social distancing measures still in place, (and the onus on operators to ensure that patrons keep at a safe distance).

“Step three – at the earliest by July – and subject to all these conditions and further scientific advice; if and only if the numbers support it, we will hope to reopen at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing,” Johnson said.

He added that what happens next will not be driven "by mere hope or economic necessity. We are going to be driven by the science, the data and public health”.

Among the other measures, the PM also revealed individuals will be allowed out of home for "unlimited exercise", along with picnics, sunbathing and other outdoor activities, provided they take place between members of one household only.

Employees who can't work from home are also being encouraged to return to their place of work – but should avoid using public transport where possible.

NB: More details are expected on Monday (11 May) via a briefing that will expand on Sunday's safety guidance. An announcement is also expected tomorrow (Tuesday 12) on the future of the government's furlough scheme.