'This isn't a route map out of Covid, it is a holding document'

The  Staff Canteen

Hospitality Businesses in England will open outside from April 12 but will remain closed indoors until May 17 - as for scotland, the roadmap came as a relief to some, but critics have denounced the plan as being too vague and falling short of giving Scottish people and businesses the assurances they need. 

Boris Johnson is hopeful that we’ll see relative normality in the UK by June 21 as he aims for all ‘legal limits on social contact’ to be removed from that date. The PM presented his road map to the House of Commons on February 22, although he warned that delays may be possible as decisions ‘will be led by data not dates’.

England's Road Map

There be a five-week gap between the main steps in the road map for England and the key dates are:

* March 8 – Schools will reopen, and people can meet one other person outdoors who is not part of their household and care home visits will be allowed.

* March 29 – The rule of six outdoors and people are no longer legally required to stay at home.

* April 12 – Pubs and restaurants may open outdoors with no curfew and alcohol no longer neds to be served with a substantial meal. Non-essential shops, personal care, gyms, holiday lets (one person or the same household) will reopen.

* May 17 – Hospitality can open indoors, restrictions on meeting outside lifted and people can meet indoors up to two households and the rule of six.

* June 21 – The removal of all legal limits on social contact and live events, nightclubs to reopen although testing may be used.

He said: “Some may think we are to ambitious and arrogant to impose a plan on a virus, but I believe the vaccine programme has dramatically changed the odds in our favour.”

Going any faster he said could mean having to reimpose the lockdown and addressing those who feel it’s not quick enough he said: “The end really is in sight.”

Despite dates being set for the journey out of lockdown, many in the hospitality industry still feel 'in limbo' and there are calls for more clarity when it comes to outdoor and indoor restrictions.

Bradley Gough, founder and CEO of Groubook said: "Once again, the hospitality sector finds itself in limbo. It’s great to see that pubs and restaurants with outside spaces can open in April and we applaud the government for that, but where does that leave the venues and employees with just indoor spaces? They have to again sit on the side-lines and are being unfairly punished by the government for having a certain type of property.

"The pandemic has been catastrophic for the hospitality sector. Instead of reading its own reports on the minimal impact hospitality had in the spread of the virus, the government has unfortunately targeted one of the biggest industries in our country. How can the government look these businesses and people in the eye?

"We call for the government to explain the thought process and scientific reasoning behind the decision and why they have decided to continually impact the sector and the people who work in it. They are the only ones ACCOUNTABLE for the continued destruction of this wonderful sector."

The hospitality sector's attention has now moved to March 3 when the Chancellor will set out his budget, earlier today Mark Lewis, Chief Executive of Hospitality Action Tweeted: "It's an agonising wait to hear the Prime Minister's announcement. Without clarity and adequate support for the sector we serve, @HospAction will be witness to unprecedented numbers of hospitality households in financial peril."

Following the PM's announcement he added:

Neil Pattison, Director at Caterer.com, the online recruitment solutions partner commented: “Despite their rigour and focus in implementing successful Covid-secure protocols, it is frustrating to see that restaurants and bars will be slow to fully re-open compared to other businesses. Studies have shown that with the right systems in place, hospitality businesses have extremely low transmission rates. The sector is raring to go, leading the way for trading responsibly and introducing procedures which ensure the safety of staff and customers. Equally, customers are keen to return and enjoy hospitality venues, and this will positively impact both the economy and mental wellbeing in the UK. As the vaccine programme continues at pace and data allows, an earlier full reopening should be considered for hospitality venues as outdoor operation is simply not feasible for so many businesses.

“Alongside this, it’s crucial that government support continues to protect jobs in hospitality. It’s clear social distancing will be in place for the foreseeable future, and many businesses will continue to struggle to remain viable as their capacity to serve customers will be reduced.

“The hospitality industry is ready to play a major part in the UK’s economic recovery and we need to work hand-in-hand with government to build trust and confidence, so this vital sector can find its feet again.”

Scotland

As for Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a "progressive easing" of restrictions on social contact leading up to businesses being allowed to reopen, conditional on the infection rate, hospitalisation rate and death rate continuing to drop at the current pace. Some schools in Scotland reopened on February 22nd. 

Following on the lockdown measures being eased, the First Minister is looking at reinstating a leveled approach, along with an unspecified "more substantial"  reopening of the economy.

* March 15 four people from two households  will be allowed to meet outdoors, remaining primary school pupils and some secondary school pupils to return to school

*April 5 at least six people from two households should be able to meet together outdoors and communal worship will be allowed to resume

* End of April onwards, what the First Minister called a "phased but significant re-opening of the economy, including non essential retail, hospitality and services like gyms and hairdressers"

While the roadmap will come as a relief to some, critics have denounced the plan as being too vague and falling short of giving Scottish people and businesses the assurances they need. 

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said the statement "fell short of public expectations," and added: "Everyone understands that we might not be able to give people absolute certainty - but they were at least expecting the first minister to give them some kind of hope.

"Nothing has been published about what happens after 26 April. This isn't a route map out of Covid, it is a holding document."

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd February 2021

'This isn't a route map out of Covid, it is a holding document'