Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

PM confirms on-trade reopening as 4 July and reduces ‘distancing’ to 1 metre

Published:  23 June, 2020

PM Boris Johnson has confirmed the reopening date for the hospitality sector as 4 July, while also reducing the current social distancing rule from 2 metres to 1 metre. 

Outlining further easing on Covid-19 restrictions, the PM said: “Thanks to our progress we can now go further and safely ease the lockdown in England. At every stage caution will remain our watchword and each step will be conditional and reversible."

From 4 July pubs and restaurants will be allowed to open indoors and outdoors if they put in safety guidelines including table service, he announced. "Close proximity venues such as nightclubs will, I am afraid, need to remain closed for now," he added, but said the Government was working on how to help these businesses to reopen. 

In addition, he said that “given the significant fall in the prevalence of the virus, we can change the 2 metre social distancing rule from 4 July. I know this rule effectively makes life impossible for large parts of our economy, even without other restrictions. For example, it prevents all but a fraction of our hospitality industry from operating." 

That's why, he said, almost two weeks ago “I asked our experts to conduct a review, and I will place a summary of their conclusions in the libraries of both houses this week".

Johnson added that where it is possible to keep 2 metres apart, people should, but where it is not, “we will advise people to keep a social distance of 1 metre. Plus, meaning they should remain 1 metre apart, while taking mitigations to reduce the risk of transmission.”

The government was today publishing guidance on how business can reduce the risk by taking certain steps to protect workers and customers, he added.

“These include, for instance, avoiding face-to-face seating by changing office layout, reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces, improving ventilation, using protective screens and face coverings, closing non-essential social spaces, providing hand sanitizer and changing shift patterns so that staff work in set teams,” he said.   

Today's announcement follows numerous calls from across the industry, spearheaded by UK Hospitality, for confirmation of the reopening date, alongside calls for the 2 metre rule to be reduced to help business across hospitality to reopen.

Yesterday, UKH released a new survey of its members that confirmed that hospitality businesses are expecting a lengthy and painful recovery, with levels of trade expected to be significantly supressed for many months to come.

Even at 1 metre, trade is only expected to be at just over half the level compared to the year before, it stated.

The 1 metre policy is in line with World Health Organisation guidance and is followed by other countries such as Denmark, France, Hong Kong and Singapore.