The UK’s hospitality sector has overwhelmingly issued its support behind the government’s decision to scrap almost all existing Covid-19 restrictions in England by 19 July.
This includes limits on the number of people who can meet together, legal requirements on wearing face masks, and social distancing in pubs and bars.
Boris Johnson encouraged the public to use their personal judgement regarding the risks of infection.
In response, Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “The prime minister’s announcement marks a major milestone in how England will come to live with Covid and will be celebrated by hospitality business owners and their staff across the country.
“For the vast majority of hospitality businesses, 19th July – if confirmed next week – will be the first time in 16 months that they have been able to realistically look to break even and move towards profitability.”
She added: “Hospitality businesses will continue to provide safe and enjoyable experiences as we move into the Summer and beyond and, in doing so, will also safeguard jobs, livelihoods and the venues we cherish so much.
“In order to do so, venues will need autonomy to act according to their own risk assessments, without local authority gold-plating, and a workable test and trace system that doesn’t demand blanket self-isolation like the test to remain-style system, to ensure that we can both protect our staff but trade with sufficient teams.”
Steve Alston, the chief executive of the British Institute of Innkeeping, said: “Lifting of trading restrictions will be welcomed by our members. The road to recovery can then start but will be hard fought & will require ongoing support.
“With it they can bounce back & be at the heart of the recovery supporting jobs & careers in every community.”
Emma McClarkin, CEO of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “The lifting of all remaining restrictions on pubs in England, if the Government sticks to its roadmap, is hugely welcome for our sector. A pint of beer on July 19th is going to taste all the sweeter!
“After nearly 18 months of forced closure or operating under severe restrictions – which crippled the viability of pubs – July 19th should mark the beginning of the recovery for our sector in England.”