Prime Minister Boris Johnston threw the English pub and hospitality industry a lifeline today when he revealed that all pubs, restaurants and hotels could open from 4th July at 1-metre+ if 2 metres could not be adhered to and providing safety measures were in place. He said that the government would be publishing further guidance later today (23rd June) but he did reveal that all hospitality indoors would be limited to table service with minimal staff and customer contact.
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the Scottish Beer and Pub Association, welcomed the news, “It’s great to know English pubs will be able to reopen on 4th July. This is an important step for us but it is just the first step on what will be a very a long road to recovery for our sector.
She continued, “It’s great to see the Government adopt the WHO guidance and the examples of many other countries across the world who’ve safely reopened their hospitality sectors using one metre as their safe social distance measure.
“I also urge Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to adopt the one-metre guidelines to ensure consistency and ease of implementation across all pubs in the UK. We also look forward to hearing from each of them as soon as possible on the definitive dates for when pubs can open in each location.”
Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said, “The Prime Minister’s announcement on the easing of the 2-metre physical distance rule will offer a huge comfort to thousands of tourism businesses south of the border which quite simply would have been unable to operate in an economically viable way if this rule was to remain in place. From 4 July, England’s tourism industry is back open for business and with that in mind, I would imagine many Scots are now turning thoughts to holidaying there. It is absolutely vital that the review of the 2-metre rule in Scotland is completed as expediently as possible to offer Scotland’s tourism industry the lifeline it so badly needs to get all of our sectors up and running as safely and quickly as possible and give Scots the option of holidaying here. Businesses urgently need a definitive decision and our entire sector is pinning hopes on Scotland’s First Minister following suit with a similar announcement as soon as is possible.”
Meanwhile Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, in her daily briefing, re-iterated the fact that Scotland was not changing its 2-metre guidance. She said that she had sought advice on the 2-metre rule and that the report would be with her by 2nd July. She did not rule out making changes when that advice was known.