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When will pubs and restaurants reopen after lockdown?

The Independent logo The Independent 23/02/2021 Joanna Whitehead
a group of people holding wine glasses © Provided by The Independent

On Monday, Boris Johnson laid out his roadmap “to recovery” for England and revealed how he plans to lift lockdown restrictions in the coming weeks.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the prime minister announced that schools would reopen next month, while outdoor socialising restrictions will also be partially lifted.

However, the lifting on restrictions is dependent on four tests, including the success of the vaccine deployment programme, evidence that vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations, confirmation that infection rates not surging, and that the assessment of these risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of the virus.

Boris Johnson announces when beer gardens and indoor dining will return
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“The threat remains substantial,” Mr Johnson said. “But we’re able to take these steps because of the resolve of the British public and the extraordinary success of our NHS in vaccinating more than 17.5m people across the UK.

“There is no credible route to a zero-Covid Britain or indeed a zero-Covid world. We cannot persist indefinitely with restrictions that debilitate our economy, our physical and mental wellbeing and the life-chances of our children.”

But what does all this mean for pubs and restaurants? Here’s everything you need to know.

When might pubs and restaurants reopen?

a group of people sitting at a table with a plate of food: Getty Images/iStockphoto © Provided by The Independent Getty Images/iStockphoto

Boris Johnson has confirmed that restaurants, pubs, and cafes can reopen for outdoor dining in England no earlier than 12 April.

Mr Johnson also said that hospitality venues could begin to serve limited numbers of customers inside dining rooms no earlier than 17 May.

Read more: Lockdown roadmap: What is reopening and when?

When hospitality does reopen, the prime minister said that rules will apply, including the rule of six or two-household rule.

Unlike before, though, there will be no curfew, or substantial meal rule, but customers must remain seated and not order at the bar.

Will we see a return of the regional tiered system?

The easing of restrictions will apply across England, with measures no longer implemented on a regional basis.

However, Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said the government will have to leave room for “highly local” interventions.

He told Times Radio on Sunday: “I think they are going to have to keep the possibility of having much more targeted interventions in certain areas.”

What have the experts said?

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Sage member Professor John Edmunds has said rapid easing could lead to a surge in hospital admissions “and indeed deaths”, and placed emphasis on vaccinations.

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: “We're all at risk and we can all spread the virus, and so, until we've all been vaccinated - I include children here - then there is going to be significant risk of a resurgence.”

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