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COVID-19: Pubs, clubs, meals out and gigs

Written by on 23 February 2021

Boris Johnson has unveiled long-awaited plans that set out how lockdown measures will be eased in England.

There will be about five weeks between each of the four stages, in order to assess the impact that the removal of restrictions is having on the spread of the virus.

So: how will this affect the hospitality industry?

Indoor drinking in pubs could be allowed again in May (file pic) Image: Indoor drinking in pubs will be permitted again from 17 May

Pubs, restaurants, hotels and B&Bs

Beer gardens and outside dining at cafes and restaurants can resume on 12 April.

People must stick to a maximum of six people from multiple households, or a larger group from just two households. Customers must also order, eat and drink while seated.

The “substantial meal” rule for ordering alcohol is also being dropped, and there will be no curfew.

Just over a month later, on 17 May, these businesses will be able to serve people inside according to the same rules.

Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can also reopen from this date, although campsites and other self-contained accommodation can welcome visitors from 12 April.

China Image: Cinemas have taken a hammering through the pandemic but can also reopen in May

Nightclubs, cinemas and live venues

Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can also reopen from 17 May.

Indoor performances will have a maximum capacity of 1,000 or half full, whichever is lower.

The biggest outdoor shows and sporting events in stadiums able to spread out the crowd will be allowed up to 10,000 people or a quarter full, whichever is lower.

Nightclubs will have been closed for over a year when they are scheduled to reopen on 21 June.

There have been suggestions that clubbers might need to take rapid tests to be allowed entry, but nothing is confirmed.

This final stage of ending lockdown is intended to end all limits on social contact.

There will be no return to the tier system (file pic) Image: There will be no return to the tier system

Where will these restrictions apply?

Measures will be eased, step by step, across the whole of England at the same time because the virus is viewed to be fairly uniformly spread across the country.

The government has also warned that, while it doesn’t want to, it won’t hesitate to change these dates if it becomes necessary – for example, if one stage of easing restrictions leads to a significant rise in cases.