'We will continue to hold the government to account and demand evidence-based decisions'

The  Staff Canteen

Calls for a judicial review of the government's decision not to reopen indoor hospitality settings until May 17th have been dismissed by the high court despite advice from the scientific community that eating out in food outlets and restaurants "was not associated with increased odds" of transmitting Covid-19.

The Night time economy adviser for Manchester, Sacha Lord, and restaurateur Hugh Osmond pushed forward with he case for what he and many in the industry perceive as unlawful restrictions placed on hospitality - while non-essential retail businesses were allowed to receive customers indoors from April 12th onwards.

Justice of the High Court Julian Knowles said the call for a judicial review to bring forward indoor reopenings was "academic," saying that the the necessary hearing would be highly unlikely to occur before May 17th. 

The dismissal thus didn't indicate whether the government's decision was right or wrong - and, according to The Telegraph, took place just before a report by the Government's SAGE scientific advisory committee was made public, which stated that ministers had been advised that "eating out in any food outlet or restaurant was not associated with increased odds" of catching Covid. 

Hugh Osmond called the development "a cover up," and Sacha Lord promised to "continue to advocate for those who have been unfairly impacted throughout this crisis." 

 

June 21st

The news comes as Calls for the government to confirm the roadmap schedule for restrictions easing in England have been made as Coronavirus cases in England are at the lowest level they've been since the onset of the pandemic. 

Among them was UKHospitality leader Kate Nicholls, who shared The Economist's health policy editor Natasha Loder's report on Twitter, calling for confirmation from government that rules would indeed be lifted on June 21st.

Inside government - and namely, on the Tory backbenches, calls for an early easing of restrictions happened as early as February, when the roadmap was announced, and continue to this day.

The rules in England are currently as follows: 

  • Guests in hospitality venues must be served, eat and drink at their table in hospitality venues
  • When standing, customers must wear a face mask and abide by social distancing rules
  • The 'rule of six' applies, and a maximum of two households can meet at one time. 
  • Customers must check in using the NHS track and trace app, or provide their details in another manner

From May 17th, customers should be able to return indoors to dine, observing the rule of six and two households, and groups of up to thirty people will be allowed to meet up indoors. 

From June 21st, all Coronavirus restrictions could be lifted, but as the above, the government has yet to confirm this.

Last weekend, The Prime Minister reiterated his optimism, and said: As things stand I think we’ve got a very good chance of really opening up totally on June 21. But we’ve got to be cautious and go on the data, not the dates.”

In fact, scientific advisers in government have called for the opposite, saying that baseline measures like social distancing should continue for a year.

Meanwhile, the controversial vaccine passports are in the process of being trialled - though Cabinet officials confirmed to The Guardian that these wouldn't be used in hospitality settings and would only be used for attendance to larger scale events and for foreign travel. 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th April 2021

'We will continue to hold the government to account and demand evidence-based decisions'