Prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that indoor hospitality can return next week as the government moves ahead with the next step in its roadmap out of lockdown.
From the 17 May, six people or two households will be allowed to meet inside, whilst indoor hospitality will also be able to resume with customers adhering to the rule of six.
The current foreign travel restrictions in place will also be eased allowing access to certain countries without the need to quarantine upon arrival. Hotels, hostels and B&Bs will also be allowed to reopen as travel throughout the UK will also be permitted, with people able to stay overnight in other destinations.
The easing of restrictions will also see up to 30 people able to attend weddings, receptions, funerals, and wakes, following the chief medical officers’ lowering of the Covid-19 alert level from four to three.
Theatres, hostels, hotels, concert halls and cinemas will be reopened to the public and kids play areas also able to resume. People will also be able to stay overnight with those who are not in their bubble or household.
The prime minister reiterated that social distancing must still be applied when not with friends or family, and urged people to continue to “exercise caution and common sense”.
The PM said: “Today we are announcing the single biggest step on our roadmap, it will allow us to do many things we have yearned to do for a long time. Let’s protect these gains by continuing to exercise caution and common sense.”
“I am confident we will go further. We remain on track to move to step 4 on 21 June,” he added.
Welcoming Johnson’s statement, Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality’s chief executive, said: “This is a much welcome and vitally important next step, as we continue along the roadmap to remove restrictions. There is a huge sense of relief within the sector, in particular for the 6 in 10 venues that were not able to reopen over recent weeks due to a lack of outdoor space.
“This also gives businesses far more certainty with trading no longer beholden to the weather. However, with significant restrictions still in place, this is a psychological opening rather than an economic one, with the profitability of the sector still a huge issue.”
She added: “This is why sticking to the roadmap and the removal of all restrictions by 21 June is absolutely crucial, enabling venues to finally operate in viable conditions, after fourteen months of severely disrupted trading.
“Hospitality, as it emerges from restrictions, is still in a fragile state and continued Government support will be critical to ensuring the sector is rejuvenated and plays a full role in the wider economic recovery.”