‘Crowded By Design’ Venues Unlikely To Re-Open In July Says Report

Venues that are “by design, crowded” and where it may prove problematic to “enact distancing” may not be able to reopen in July, or may only be able to open in part, according to details released by the government yesterday (May 11)

The government release a 50-page document, entitled Our Plan To Rebuild, which restates some hospitality businesses could reopen as early as 4 July, however, venues where social distancing will be difficult to carry out will not be able to open fully at this time. The report also states “some venues which are by design, crowded and well it may prove difficult to enact distancing may not be able to reopen safely at this point, or may be able to open safely only in part “

The reopening is contingent on five main factors being met: NHS capacity, a falling rate of daily deaths, a rate of infection below 1, sufficient PPE, and no risk of a second spike overwhelming the NHS. Business owners will have noted that the reopening date coincides with the end of the furlough scheme.

The hospitality industry is dealt with in ”step three” in the government’s three-step plan, following the phased reopening of schools and shops in June. Mr Johnson said: “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 re-open at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing.”

To enable the fastest possible reopening of these types of higher-risk businesses and public places” the government will “carefully phase and pilot reopening’s to test their ability to adopt”.

All businesses that are eligible to reopen will need to meet the government’s new ‘”covid-19 secure” guidelines, which it said will be released later this week. The government said it also plans to monitor carefully the effects of reopening other similar establishments elsewhere in the world and will “establish a series of taskforces to work closely with stakeholders in these sectors to develop ways in which they can make these businesses and public places covid-19 secure”.

Peter Marks –The Deltic Group, National Chain: “Socialising in most town centre hospitality venues does not work with social distancing. It won’t work practically, or economically. Think standing areas, toilets, corridors, staff, and what would happen to the fire capacity? It is the same for pubs, bars, clubs, live music venues as well as most restaurants. It is not for us to determine when we should return to normal albeit most of our customers and staff are in the low risk categories. But what we need to know is that we have a long-term support package that includes furlough payments and a rent deal mechanism for forgiveness, not just building up debt to become a zombie company later. That way we can all be ready to give people the social life that is important to so many, whatever their preference for escapism, enjoyment and a night out. Without hospitality we merely live to work rather than work to live.”