Prime Minister Hints That Hospitality Sector May Open Sooner Than July

Pubs, bars and restaurants may be able to reopen sooner than than July 4, after it was revealed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked for a review of the two-metre social distancing rule.

Under current government guidance that bars and restaurants are not be allowed to reopen until at least July 4, however during televised questioning by the Liaison Committee of senior MPs the Prime Minister indicated there could also be good news on pubs and restaurants.

Conservative MP Greg Clark, chair of the science and technology committee, asked whether the current social distancing rule could be reviewed and relaxed. Johnson said he hoped the distance could reduced, specifically citing pubs and restaurants as benefiting from that review. This week and last, pubs have been campaigning for the social distancing rules to be reduced to one metre.

The Prime Minister replied said the government was “trying to go as fast as we can” to reopen the hospitality industry, which in the previous review on 7 May he said he hoped would happen on 3 July.

“It is very difficult to bring forward hospitality measures in a way that involves social distancing,” he told the Liaison Committee during questions on reopening the economy.

“But I’m much more optimistic about that than I was. We may be able to do things faster than I had previously thought.”

The pub industry has warned that two thirds of jobs in the sector could be lost if the distance is not reduced to one metre – the current distance advised by the World Health Organisation.