Some parts of the hospitality industry could re-open in July, Boris Johnson has said.
The sector – which includes theme parks, hotels and restaurants – was the first to shut down when the prime minister introduced lockdown restrictions in March.
However the prime minister insisted that any reopening is conditional on the rate of coronavirus infections being kept in check.
He said that it also depended on the entire country following government advice and observing social distancing.
The hospitality industry is dealt with in ”step three” in the government’s plan, following the phased reopening of schools and shops in June.
Mr Johnson said: “Step three – at the earliest by July – and subject to all these conditions and further scientific advice, if and only if the numbers support it, 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.”
It comes after industry chiefs warned that as many as 15,000 pubs could be forced to permanently close if they are forced to wait until September to emerge from lockdown.
“With insufficient clarity as to when pubs will reopen, our sector remains in limbo and facing severe uncertainty and financial devastation,” said Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association.
“If government plans to keep pubs closed until the final phase of release, as rumoured, this would make pubs first in and last out of lockdown.”
“Despite this, the government hasn’t outlined any specific additional financial support for pubs to assure and help them through the extended lockdown hardship they face.”
“We understand that pubs should only open when safe to do so, but extending the lockdown without offering additional support will be devastating.”
Source: The Independent