Hopes of a June opening for the hospitality and licensed on trade sector were dashed as business secretary Alok Sharma said the government continues to work towards a reopening date of 4 July as the earliest opening date for hospitality, subject to advice at the time.
The government has announced that all non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen in England on Monday June 15, with the business secretary saying “we continue to meet” the government’s five tests for lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
He said retailers can open as long as they follow safety guidelines, or they could face enforcement notices.
Making reference to the hospitality and on-trade he said: “But of course, there are businesses which still remain closed. As soon as we can, we will publish further safer working guidance for restaurants, pubs and bars, as well as hairdressers barbers, nail bars and related services.
“These documents will provide practical steps to allow those business to reopen in a manner that is as safe as possible for workers and their customers.
“I know there’s been a lot of speculation about when we might be able to reopen these pumps to the economy and I completely understand why we’re all so keen to get them back up and running as soon as possible and share that enthusiasm. But we continue to follow the roadmap, which sets out our ambition to reopen the sectors, from the 4 of July, at the earliest. In the meantime, we will continue to protect livelihoods and support businesses, so they’re ready to bounce back and play their part in the economic recovery.”
When asked whether he had been pushing for the 2 metre rule to be reduced to 1 metre, as now recommended by the World Health Organisation, Sharma said: “The 2 metre rule is currently in place and of course, when it is safe to do so, we will see whether you can move to a shorter distance, but ultimately we keep all of these things under review”.