Decision day for pubs and restaurants as government to set out reopening blueprint

The Artichoke pub in Magdalen Road. Picture: Neil Didsbury

The Artichoke pub in Magdalen Road. Picture: Neil Didsbury - Credit: Archant

Pubs, restaurants, museums and cinemas are set to find out today how they could begin reopening in new measures to be set out by the prime minister.

Boris Johnson is expected to announce the results of a review into the two-metre social distancing rule, which areas of the hospitality industry have called to be reduced to one metre.

The PM will brief the cabinet on the proposals - due to take effect from July 4 - before setting out details in a Commons statement.

In recent weeks, Norfolk pub landlords have voiced their fears that the industry may never recover from the coronavirus outbreak.

MORE: Hopes rise for one-metre social distance ruleIn today’s announcement, sector by sector guidance will be announced for businesses in England, including hotels and hairdressers, on how to re-open in a Covid-secure manner.

Elements of the arts and culture sector will also benefit from the easing - including cinemas, museums and art galleries - and will be able to begin welcoming back visitors under the latest stage of the government’s road map for lifting the lockdown.

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It could mean introducing one-way systems, spaced queuing, increased ventilation and pre-booked tickets to ensure people can return safely.

Elsewhere, ministers having suggested installing Perspex screens, altering seating arrangements and requiring the wearing of face coverings to mitigate the risk of spreading the disease as the rules are eased.

MORE: ‘It’s cheaper to stay closed’: Pub owners’ bleak view on reopeningCustomers at pubs and bars may have to sign guest books with their names and contact details so they could be traced if they come into contact with someone who is infected.

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Some scientists have, however, expressed concern the government is moving too quickly, and that its track-and-trace system to contain any fresh outbreaks is not fully up and running.

Lucy Yardley, professor of health psychology at the University of Bristol and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC Newsnight there was a “danger” that some people thought lockdown had ended.

Professor Yardley said “You could argue that we were never so much listening to the government as doing what we thought was right at the right time” and added it “would be much harder” to impose lockdown for a second time.

MORE: More pubs could reopen if social distancing relaxed to 1m

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