More pubs could reopen if social distancing relaxed to 1m

Industry bosses say three quarters of pubs could reopen if social distancing was 1m. Picture: PA Wir

Industry bosses say three quarters of pubs could reopen if social distancing was 1m. Picture: PA Wire - Credit: PA

More than three-quarters of pubs could reopen if social distancing rules were relaxed to one metre, the boss of a large trade body has said.

On Wednesday, Boris Johnson said restaurants, hotels and bars could potentially reopen earlier than planned after he asked scientists to review the two-metre rule.

Under current plans, pubs, hotels and restaurants remain closed until at least July 4.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), whose organisation represents about 20,000 UK pubs and the majority of brewers, told the PA news agency the required distance should be reduced to at least one metre, as in several European countries and advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

She said: “We’re not asking unless it’s safe to do.

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“Pubs are currently on a very highly tuned Government life-support machine.

“The longer they remain on it, and with all the other medicines they have to pay for, some won’t survive.

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“Once pubs close they are very, very hard to resuscitate.”

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, added that the reduction would also make businesses more viable, warning that if the government did not support the hospitality sector then one in three venues could close for good and one million jobs could be cut across the supply chain.

She said: “If you have two metres social distancing that’s the difference between opening at 30pc of normal revenues or 60pc with one metre social distancing.”

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