Chancellor Rishi Sunak is among half a dozen ministers billing themselves as the ‘save summer six’. The group reportedly hope re-opening beer gardens and outdoor dining spaces throughout England on June 22nd will help to save the 3.5 million hospitality jobs at risk. This would be an acceleration in the timetable previously given by the government, when announcing the easing of lockdown measures. As it stands, hotels and restaurants were to remain closed until July at the earliest.
The change in policy would see pubs able to utilise beer gardens, terraces, and gazebos to serve patrons. Ministers are expected to discuss the proposal at a cabinet meeting today, as well as considering a reduction in physical distancing to one metre for pubs and restaurants. The news has been met with some criticism from those within the hospitality industry, who argue many businesses would struggle to be ready to open safely in less than three weeks.
A representative from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has called on the Government to provide a clear timetable for businesses to work towards. The trade body has previously warned that almost 40% of UK pubs could be forced to shut for good because of the lockdown.