Government Sets Up Taskforce For The Safe Re-Opening Of Pubs & Restaurants

New ministerial-led taskforces have been set up to plan how closed sectors can reopen safely.

The government has set up five ministerial-led task forces looking at how to safely reopen pubs, salons and other industries closed due to coronavirus.

The task forces – which will be “crucial” to boosting the economy – will look at developing “new Covid-19 secure guidelines” to reopen businesses where loser contact between people is unavoidable.

It is the Government’s ambition to open as many of these other businesses and public places as possible over the coming months, when the scientific advice provided allows us to.

Similarly, the Government recognises this has been a particularly challenging time for the international aviation industry.

These taskforces will be crucial to the reopening of Britain’s economy and each one will lead on developing new COVID-19 secure guidelines for the reopening of public places and businesses, where and when it is safe to do so.

The five new ministerial taskforces will look at the following sectors:

  • pubs and restaurants (Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy)
  • non-essential retail (including salons) (Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy)
  • recreation and leisure, including tourism, culture and heritage, libraries, entertainment and sport (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
  • places of worship (Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
  • international aviation, reflecting the unique challenges that sector is facing (Department for Transport)

As part of this science-led approach, each taskforce will work across Government and engage with key stakeholders in public health, industry, trade unions and devolved administrations to:

  • ensure that COVID-19 secure guidelines are developed in line with the phased approach and public health directions, building on the existing guidance and providing intelligence and sector-specific expert input
  • agree and ensure alignment of all relevant sectoral guidance
  • provide key sector stakeholders direct access to Ministers to shape the guidance

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “We greatly welcome the creation of this taskforce for pubs and restaurants and will be providing our expertise to help our sector to open as safely and quickly as possible.

“As an organisation that already works closely with the Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy, we look forward to continuing our work with them to ensure the recovery of our sector.

“In contributing to the taskforce we aim to get pubs on track for reopening as soon as possible. We will be sharing all our intelligence and expertise on the beer and pub sector. We will also provide pubs for pilot testing of new COVID-19 secure guidelines.

“We believe that pubs should only open when safe to do so, but without additional support now – particularly for those who won’t be able to re-open sooner – many more of our nation’s pubs and the brewers that supply them with beer will struggle to survive closure and beyond. We’ll therefore continue to press the Government for the ongoing support our sector needs.”

CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona said: “CAMRA welcomes today’s announcement of a taskforce to help pubs re-open and operate safely within social distancing guidelines.

“Pubs are a key part of our social fabric and it is vital that people can safely support them when they re-open so that they can weather the difficult weeks and months ahead.

“It’s clear that some types of pubs won’t be able to open and operate successfully with social distancing measures, and we want the Government to pay particular attention to how they can support those pubs to ensure their future survival.

“Pubs will require ongoing financial support both during lockdown and after restrictions lift, and we look forward to working with the taskforce to ensure clarity and support is outlined in every step of the process.”

UKHospitality welcomed the announcement, UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “We have been persistent in pointing out that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to reopening businesses, even within the same sector, making such representations last month to Downing Street and the Treasury.

“A great deal of lateral thinking and planning will be required to help businesses open, hence our efforts to draw up protocols and work co-creatively with stakeholders to inform hospitality sub-sectors on how best to prepare venues for safe re-openings. This is for the safety of staff, customers and visitors, and for hospitality to help drive economic recovery.

“It is therefore very welcome to hear that the Government will be listening to our recommendations, to jointly find solutions to reopening. We look forward to continuing to engage with the Cabinet Office and alongside members, in playing our part and having a clear message to support the reopening of hospitality businesses when it is safe to do so.”