There is no doubt that the hospitality and pub sector has been one of the most adversely affected by the global pandemic, but there now seems to be light at the end of the tunnel as the PM announces a cautious route out of the current lockdown.
On Monday 22 February, Boris Johnson announced his Government's roadmap to ease the current lockdown restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, what does that roadmap look for pubs in the UK? And when can people visit pubs again for a drink with friends or family?
When can I visit pubs again in the UK?
Things are due to open slowly from April, with normal operation permitted in July (assuming that the infection rate doesn't change between now and then - i.e the reopening of schools does not affect this). The roadmap and the rules specifically for the hospitality sector are as follows;
Step 1 - March 8
- Kids go back to school
- "Stay at Home" message still in force
- Pubs and hospitality remain closed
Step 1 continued - March 29
- Outdoor gatherings of either 6 people or 2 households will be allowed, providing greater flexibility for families to see each other. This includes in private gardens
- "Stay at Home" order will end, although many lockdown restrictions will remain
- Pubs and hospitality remain closed
Step 2 - April 12
- Pubs and restaurants can reopen for outdoor purposes only, with tables outside in line with social contact rules
- Friends or family will be allowed to meet in beer gardens as long as they abide by the rule of six or are made up of two households only
- There will be no curfews, and there is no requirement to eat while drinking, which means the end of the “substantial meal” debacle (queue, no more scotch eggs on the menu, shame!)
Step 3 - May 17
- Pubs and restaurants may reopen for indoor dining. However, the rule of six/two household rule will still apply for meeting inside
Step 4 - June 21
- Though it will be no earlier than June 21, it is hoped that by June 21 all social contact limits can be removed (yay!!)
- Nightclubs and live events will be allowed to return, and wedding venues will receive guidance on the numbers permitted
The Governments latest four-step lockdown easing roadmap
Step 2, no earlier than 12 April:
- Non-essential retail, personal care premises, such as hairdressers and nail salons, and public buildings, such as libraries and community centres, will reopen.
- Most outdoor attractions and settings, including zoos, and theme parks, will also reopen although wider social contact rules will apply in these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households. Drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances will also be permitted.
- Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen - but only for use by people on their own or with their household.
- Hospitality venues can serve people outdoors only. There will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcohol, and no curfew - although customers must order, eat and drink while seated.
- Self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.
- Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, and the numbers able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15 (from 6).
Step 3, no earlier than 17 May:
- Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.
- Outdoor performances such as outdoor cinemas, outdoor theatres and outdoor cinemas can reopen.. Indoors, the rule of 6 or 2 households will apply - although we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.
- Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen.
- Larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower) will also be allowed, as will those in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4000 people or half-full (whichever is lower).
- In the largest outdoor seated venues where crowds can spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).
- Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. Other life events that will be permitted include bar mitzvahs and christenings.
Step 4, no earlier than 21 June:
- It is hoped all legal limits on social contact can be removed.
- We hope to reopen nightclubs, and lift restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3.
- This will also guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.
For the full Government roadmap, please visit their website here.