Huge swathes of the hospitality and leisure sectors will be the very last to open – in the final stage of a three-phase plan to end lockdown.
Many pubs have warned that they will be unable to ever reopen their doors under the drastic measures to slow the spread of coronavirus because they do not have the resources to tide themselves over for months.
Some restaurants and cafes will be able to very slowly start serving people in July, but many will have to stay closed long past then.
Boris Johnson said this evening: “Step three – at the earliest by July … we will hope to re-open at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing.
“Throughout this period of the next two months we will be driven not by mere hope or economic necessity.
“We are going to be driven by the science, the data and public health.
It is feared that many pubs and restaurants won’t get the green light to re-open until as late as Autumn.
He added: “And I must stress again that all of this is conditional, it all depends on a series of big Ifs.
“It depends on all of us – the entire country – to follow the advice, to observe social distancing, and to keep that R (rate of transmission) down.”
Mr Johnson acknowledged the incredible suffering of the hospitality sector.
He said: “We must also recognise that this campaign against the virus has come at colossal cost to our way of life.
“We can see it all around us in the shuttered shops and abandoned businesses and darkened pubs and restaurants.”
The PM stressed the focus would be on getting people who could not work from home back to work – by telling construction and manufacturing workers to get back on sites.
The second step will start to get kids back into classrooms – a key part of getting parents returning to offices once they are able to.
But while outdoor exercise and leisure activity will be uncapped and unlimited from Wednesday, many of Brits’ favourite pass-times will stay boarded up.
In a video message tonight the PM:
- Urged Brits to get back to work if they can’t from home
- Revealed Brits would be allowed to sunbathe in parks and play unlimited sport from Wednesday – and can go on day trips
- Said anyone coming into the country by air would be forced to quarantine
- Schools will start going back from June – but only if the infection level is low enough
- But he warned that pubs, cinemas and mass gatherings would be off the cards for months to come
As many as four in ten pubs could sink entirely under the PM’s three-phase plan to reopen Britain.
The British Beer & Pub Association predicted last week 19,000 of 47,000 boozers would never reopen their doors.
It would leave 320,000 people without a job.
Even with the Government grants of £25,000, pubs won’t have enough cash to get them back on their feet once they are allowed to reopen.
The Prime Minister warned it might be even later than if the global race to find a vaccine proves fruitless.
Under the three-phase plan, some cafes and restaurants that have outdoor tables and are able to keep diners two metres apart, will be able to reopen on July, only if the other measures – including the reopening of schools – don’t cause coronavirus cases to skyrocket.
If the transmission rate of the virus goes too high as the Government tries to ease lockdown, the PM warned they will not hesitate to send Brits back into stricter conditions.
To gauge how strict measures had to be No10 has crafted five alert levels as part of the new plan.
Level one means the disease is no longer present in the UK and level five means the nation is in the midst of a deadly second peak of the disease where the NHS could be overwhelmed by cases.
The UK is currently at level four, the PM said, and will begin to move towards level three, where the situation is less dire.