The UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that the next phase of the country’s easing of lockdown will go ahead across England, with indoor hospitality and cultural venues reopening across the country from 17th May.
1. Easing restrictions
As the UK takes another step on its roadmap out of lockdown, the tourism and hospitality industry are especially glad of the latest easing of lockdown rules. Self-catering accommodation such as holiday parks were already permitted to open last month, but from 17th May overnight stays in hotels, hostels and B&Bs are permitted as well as school trips with overnight stays. Restaurants, bars and pubs, which were allowed to open outdoors a few weeks back, will also be able to open indoors from the 17th, although visitors must stay in groups of no more than six, or two households, and there is no standing at the bar allowed. Cinemas, museums, concert halls, conference centres and sports stadiums will also reopen with certain capacity limits. The PM said that the government is also ‘on track’ to announce the next lockdown easing which will take effect from 21st June. “This unlocking amounts to a very considerable step on the road back to normality and I am confident that we will be able to go further” he said.
WATCH LIVE: an update on COVID-19 (10 May 2021) https://t.co/9ChY8pr2PW— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) May 10, 2021
2. Hospitality sector
The news was welcomed by hospitality trade association UKHospitality, with Chief Executive Kate Nicholls saying, “There is a huge sense of relief within the sector, in particular for the six in 10 venues that were not able to reopen over recent weeks due to a lack of outdoor space.” At the same time she warned that, “However, with significant restrictions still in place, this is a psychological opening rather than an economic one, with the profitability of the sector still a huge issue. This is why sticking to the roadmap and the removal of all restrictions by 21 June is absolutely crucial.” “Hospitality, as it emerges from restrictions, is still in a fragile state and continued government support will be critical” she assured.