The chairman of Penrith Pubwatch has called the Prime Minister’s roadmap for COVID-19 recovery – including the reopening of the hospitality industry – “light at the end of the tunnel”.
The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID pandemic and many have struggled to survive in the face of ongoing rents, staffing and business costs.
Yesterday’s announcement of the UK’s roadmap out of lockdown included clarification that pubs and restaurants will be able to slowly reopen with a phased return from April to June.
If all stages go to plan pubs and restaurants can open from April 12 for outdoor purposes only, with tables outside in line with social contact rules.
Friends or family will be allowed to meet in beer gardens as long as they abide by the rule of six or are made up of two households and there will be no curfews or requirement to eat while drinking.
From May 17, pubs and restaurants may reopen their doors for indoor dining with the rule of six or two households rule still apply for meeting inside
Mark Bowman, chairman of Penrith Pubwatch and owner of the Lounge Hotel and Bar, said: “It’s good news and light at the end of the tunnel. I’m happy with the announcement.
“I feel we didn’t want to open and be where we were in the tier two situation where you could only have a drink with a substantial meal – I’d rather open a few weeks later but in a decent manner.
“In regards to the outdoor opening there’s limited places with outdoor areas they can service so it’s very limited nationally, there’s a very small number of places that will be able to do that and make it sustainable.
“Then five weeks later its a lot like the lockdown last summer where we got a date but didn’t know the rules.
“They have talked about the rule of six and table service but presumably the blueprint will come later.”
The Prime Minister’s roadmap further plans for nightclubs and live event to return no earlier than June 21 but with hopes that date will see all limits removed.
Mr Bowman – who also owns Penrith’s Warehouse nightspot, added: “Nightclubs have had no mention for 12 months but I’ve always felt we couldn’t open safely, it tends to be a packed environment with humid conditions.
“Now they are saying hopefully in June they should be able to open so that would look like life’s going on. I do think they will be the last in all aspects of society to open and I didn’t think they would open this year – it’s not set in stone but the news yesterday is good – we will watch with bated breath and see what the data says.”