England is vaccinating people as if their lives depended on it, which, to be honest, they do and now claim to have given at least one dose of vaccine to half the adult population.
This is, of course, excellent news for the economy which has effectively been closed for just over one year and especially for the hospitality industry which has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic.
The English Government announced back in February a plan to reopen parts of the economy with some key dates proposed. April 12th will be significant for pubs, bars,
restaurants and cafés. Assuming all continues well with halting the pandemic, and the Government has stated that there are 4 indicators that they are observing with regard to this, hospitality venues will be permitted to open their outdoor spaces to customers for the first time in 5 months.
Under the plans it will be possible to eat and drink in outdoor
areas of pubs and restaurants. There will not be an obligation to order food in order to consume alcohol, as was the case at one point in 2020, and there will not be a curfew.
A 10pm closing in the summer of 2020 caused considerable controversy.
If all continues to go well after April 12th it is proposed to allow pubs and restaurants to open indoors from May 17th. A “rule of 6” will still be in place along with distancing measures. The final step of the plan is due to come in from June 21st and will remove all the existing limits on social contacts. Other sectors of the industry should also be permitted to reopen including nightclubs.
All the dates that have been given are earliest possible dates and are dependent on all the factors of controlling the pandemic going in the right direction. There is a gap of five weeks between each phase of the reopening to allow for data to be gathered. It takes four weeks for them to see the effect of the relaxation and the Government has promised to give the public one week’s notice before any changes. It is everyone’s hope that with a gradual easing of restrictions this will be the end of hospitality being closed down. The worst possible scenario for the industry would be further closures.
Early reports suggest a significant increase in recruitment within hospitality particularly in the traditional holiday regions in the south and south-west of the country. There is an expectation of an increase in the number of English who will holiday in their own country this summer. Mainland Europe is still struggling with the pandemic and the English Government are discouraging foreign travel. It is my opinion that the English hospitality industry will enjoy a bumper year this year, assuming that all the indicators for the slowing the pandemic continue in the right direction.