Pubs and restaurants could reopen NEXT MONTH, says Boris Johnson

Pubs and restaurants could reopen NEXT MONTH as Boris Johnson says roadmap is moving ‘faster than previously thought’

  • Prime Minister sparks hope of reopening pubs and restaurants from next month 
  • Boris Johnson says we may be able to do things ‘faster than previously thought’
  • Government lockdown roadmap currently has hospitality reopening on July 4
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Pubs could be allowed to reopen as early as next month, as the Prime Minister tonight gave Britons fresh hope of enjoying a drink in a beer garden this summer.

Boris Johnson tonight told MPs he hopes to allow watering holes and restaurants to re-open earlier July 4 – the date which has been set down in the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Pubs and restaurants have been closed across Britain since the government imposed the coronavirus lockdown at the end of March. 

This evening, Mr Johnson told MPs on the Liaison Committee: ‘On hospitality… we are really trying to go as fast as we can.

‘It is really difficult to bring forward hospitality measures in a way that involves social distancing. 

Pubs could be allowed to reopen as early as next month, as the Prime Minister tonight gave Britons fresh hope of enjoying a drink in a beer garden this summer. Pictured: Boris Johnson appeared before the Liaison Committee this evening

Boris Johnson tonight told MPs he hopes to allow watering holes and restaurants to re-open earlier than July. Pictured: The Old House at Home pub close to West Wittering beach today

‘But I am much more optimistic about that than I was. We may be able to do things faster than I previously thought.’

Wetherspoon’s £11million masterplan to reopen its 875 pubs 

Bosses of Britain’s biggest pub chain have revealed his £11million masterplan to reopen its pubs. 

Last week, JD Wetherspoon revealed plans to reopen 875 pubs within weeks – and while the blueprint promises social distancing there is no mention of the two-metre rule.

The chain closed in March despite its chairman Tim Martin claiming the lockdown ‘wouldn’t save lives’ and the millionaire Brexiteeer also blasted Boris Johnson for not adopting a herd immunity policy.

With pubs expected to reopen in July, Wetherspoons drinkers will be told ‘not to meet in large groups’ and will be expected to sanitise their hands on arrival and at other times during their visit using dispensers dotted around the pubs.

They will follow one-way systems to the toilets and through the bar where the tills will be screened off to protect staff likely to be wearing masks, gloves and eye protection, the chain said.

Staff will hand over all drinks holding the base of the pint or wine glass and when ordered via a smartphone they will be delivered to the table on a tray for the customers to take themselves to reduce the chances of spreading Covid-19. Families will be asked to keep children seated and always accompanied to the toilet.

The 875 pubs in UK and Ireland will open during its usual hours of 8am to around 1am and encourage customers to order using its app with posters put up telling them ‘there is no need to visit the bar’. But people can pay by cash or card at the till if necessary and must not move any furniture.

Drinkers will be encouraged to use many of the chain’s large gardens but inside tables will be surrounded by screens to ensure social distancing. The chain’s food menu will be pared back and condiment bottles removed and replaced with sachets to prevent coronavirus spreading via shared ketchup, mayonnaise and vinegar.

Every pub will also have a member of staff employed to sanatise the pubs, concentrating on door knobs, card machines and hand rails.

It comes as in the same meeting, Boris Johnson asked top Government scientists to review the two-metre social distancing rule in the ‘hope’ that it can be reduced, he told MPs today.

The UK has one of the strictest contact gap rules in the world to counter coronavirus transmission, double the one metre gap recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

That is the distance permitted in Hong Kong, Singapore, France and China, while Australia, Germany and the Netherlands recommend 1.5 metres.  

Last week pub owners warned that the two-metre distancing rule could keep 80 per cent of pubs from opening because of a lack of space. 

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said on 20 per cent of pubs would be able to reopen with two-metre distancing, but a one-metre gap between punters would bring the majority back. 

Meanwhile, bosses of Britain’s biggest pub chain JD Wetherspoon have revealed their £11million masterplan to reopen its 875 pubs across the UK.

Last week, bosses revealed plans to reopen 875 pubs within weeks – and while the blueprint promises social distancing there is no mention of the two-metre rule.

The plans include telling punters ‘not to meet in large groups’, while expecting them to sanitise their hands on arrival using dispensers dotted around the pubs.

Customers will also be encouraged to order using its app in order to limit visits to the bar, while punters will be encouraged to make use of its pub gardens. 

Meanwhile, schools and shop in the UK are due to open in the next few weeks with strict measures already being planned to keep children and shoppers two metres from each other as much as possible in both settings.  

Facing senior MPs on the Liaison Committee this afternoon Mr Johnson was asked about the two metre rule by Science Committee chairman Greg Clark.

The PM replied that the Science Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) advice was that there was a ‘considerable reduction in risk at that distance, compared to a smaller gap.

‘My own hope is that as we make progress in getting the virus down … we will be able to reduce that distance which I think will be particularly valuable on (public) transport and in the hospitality sector,’ he added.  

‘Their answer is that that is what they feel is the right interval for us. We rely and have done throughout on the guidance we get from our advisers and that is what they think is appropriate at the moment but … that may evolve.

‘As you know Sage has changed its advice, for example on face coverings.’

Mr Clark asked if he would ask Sage to reconsider the advice ‘in good time for shops and other places to consider their practice’, adding: This has a massive impact on whether many workplaces can open.’

The Prime minister replied: ‘I have already done just that.’ 

The UK has one of the the widest physical contact gaps in the world to counter coronavirus transmission, double the one metre gap recommended by the World Health Organisatio

Facing senior MPs on the Liaison Committee this afternoon Mr Johnson was asked about the two metre rule by Science Committee chairman Greg Clark

A senior scientist, Professor Robert Dingwall, who sits on a Sage sub-committee, has also said the distance is based on ‘very fragile’ evidence. 

The World Health Organisation recommends a one metre distance between two people from separate households. 

The reason for this, as stated on its website, is that: ‘When someone coughs, sneezes, or speaks they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus.

‘If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person has the disease.’

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