PUNTERS will be back in beer gardens from mid-April after pubs were given then go-ahead to welcome back customers under plans to ease lockdown in England.
The Prime Minister's four-step plan to reopen business sees the hospitality industry start in two stages.
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Hospitality venues, including pubs, bars, restaurants and theatres currently remain shut to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The first part of the plan will see see kids return to classrooms on March 8 and "ways for people to reunite with loved ones safely" prioritised.
Three weeks later, on March 29, the “Rule of Six” will return to parks and private gardens — allowing six people from up to six different households to mix outdoors.
It will be mid-April before pubs and restaurants can reopen – and then it will only be outdoor service, with indoor service returning in May.
When will pubs reopen?
Outdoor drinking in pub beer gardens will be back on the cards from April 12 if the vaccine rollout continues to go as planned.
Eating and drinking inside at pubs and restaurants will be off the menu until May 17 at the earliest.
Major venues like nightclubs, theatres, and cinemas aren't likely to open until later in the summer at the earliest.
But Mr Johnson insisted that the timeline for businesses to reopen relies heavily on the "four steps to freedom".
These include the vaccine rollout continuing as planned and evidence that the jabs are effective at reducing hospitalisations and deaths.
Infection rates must not overwhelm the NHS and as long as new variants are not a threat, then unlocking the country can go ahead as planned.
What will the rules be when pubs reopen?
Details about what rules Brits need to stick to while taking a trip down to their local are still to be revealed.
The hated 10pm curfew will not return when pubs finally reopen and punters won't have to buy a scotch egg to get served.
However social distancing will remain in place at least until autumn, with measures set to be reconsidered in the summer when more people are vaccinated.
Once drinking outside in a beer garden is given the green light, it is possible that boozers will have to stick to the “rule of six” limits and two-metre distancing.
This is expected to stay all summer as a compromise for the early reopening.
However, pub bosses have blasted an outdoor-only drinking plan from early April and have demanded the return of inside drinking.
Industry leaders have backed demands for lockdown restrictions to be fully lifted by the end of April, when most over-50s are expected to have been vaccinated.
Patrick Dardis, chief executive of the Young’s pubs chain, said that spring rain would make the outdoors-only idea unworkable and slammed it as "nonsense".
Meanwhile, Tim Martin, chairman of pubs giant JD Wetherspoon, said the decision had been made by “ministers with no experience of business, or empathy for business”.
Plus, O'Neill's owner Mitchells & Butlers has warned "a majority" of its venues will stay shut due to outdoor-only restrictions.
What other businesses are allowed to reopen?
Under the PM’s roadmap to take Britain out of lockdown, schools will reopen on March 8, and on this same day, care home residents will finally be allowed to have indoor visitors for the first time in months.
Assuming all goes well with that easing, the next significant milestone will be March 29 when outdoors gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed, reuniting friends for the first time in months.
As long as the targets are continuing to be met, businesses will be allowed to open as follows.
Assuming all of the above targets are continuing to be met, businesses will be allowed to open as follows.
The government is yet to publish full details but here's everything we know so far.
- Non-essential retailers
- Pubs, restaurants and hospitality allowed to serve outdoor food and drink
- UK self-catered staycations for one household
- Pubs and restaurants can serve food and drink indoors
- Indoor gyms and fitness clubs
- Sports stadiums with a cap on 10,000 visitors
- Bingo halls
- Saunas and spas
- No cap on the number of guests allowed at a wedding
Staycations could be back in June but Easter holiday getaways are off the cards for now.
These are the targets that need to be met for lockdown to be lifted – from R rates to the vaccine rollout.
We also explain when non-essential shops will reopen.
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