On February 22, Boris Johnson announced the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, including dates for when hospitality venues can reopen.
The Prime Minister revealed that restrictions in England, in place since 4 January, will be gradually relaxed with a four-stage plan to open the economy up again.
People in England can look forward to visiting pubs and restaurants before summer according to the roadmap – but from what date will venues be open?
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Here’s what you need to know.
What is Boris Johnson’s roadmap?
It includes the initial relaxation of measures as well as the restrictions that could be eased in the coming months.
Covid-19 measures will also be relaxed step-by-step across the whole of England, instead of a return to the regional tiered system.
However, whether the four steps happen is dependent on strict conditions on vaccines, infection rates and new coronavirus variants.
Boris Johnson said the roadmap aimed to be "cautious but irreversible" and at every stage decisions would rely on data instead of dates.
When will pubs and restaurants reopen?
Pubs, bars and restaurants will be allowed to open in some capacity in the second stage of the government’s roadmap.
From 12 April, venues will be allowed to serve customers sitting outdoors – with the service of alcohol allowed.
Up to six people from separate households could be able to meet in beer gardens from 12 April.
From this date, the government will also run pilots for events such as large weddings, festivals and work conferences, to ensure Covid cases do not spike among attendees in the days and weeks after the event.
From 17 May – the government’s third stage of the roadmap – two households may be able to mix indoors, with the rule of six in pubs and restaurants.
The “rule of six” will be abolished for outdoor gatherings and replaced with a limit of 30 people.
At this stage, hotels, B&Bs and indoor entertainment will also be allowed to reopen.
According to the roadmap, normality is planned to resume by around 21 June, with all legal limits on social contact to be removed.
At this stage, it’s expected that nightclubs and theatres will also reopen.
From 21 June, there may be no legal limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, funerals and other life events.
What will the rules be when pubs reopen?
When pubs reopen in April, only the use of outdoor spaces such as beer gardens and rooftop bars will be permitted.
Up to six people from separate households could be able to meet in beer gardens from 12 April, and there will be no caveat on drinking alcohol (like the rule during the tiered lockdown that stated you had to eat a substantial meal with alcohol).
This time, curfews will also not be brought in.
However, pub and restaurant owners will need to wait for confirmation that they can reopen on 12 April, as the Prime Minister remains cautious in his approach to easing restrictions.
From 17 May, two households may be able to mix indoors, with the rule of six in pubs and restaurants.
By the end of June, hospitality settings should be able to return to normal, with no Covid restrictions or rules.
What are the four tests?
The four new tests which the government will use to decide whether the country can progress to each stage are:
- The vaccinations programme continues successfully
- Data shows that the jabs are effective in reducing hospital numbers and deaths in those inoculated
- Infection rates do not risk a rapid increase in hospitalisations, which would result in pressure on the NHS
- The government’s assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of the virus which cause concern.
The government has said the tests are currently being met so the first stage of the roadmap will go ahead on 8 March.