Pubs could be left with just days to reopen as Number 10 will not put timeframe on relaxing lockdown rules
Pubs have not been able to re-open while shops have (PA)
Landlords could be left with just a fraction of the time they say they will need to prepare for reopening as the Government is unable to confirm the timetable on easing lockdown restrictions.
The current coronavirus roadmap from Downing Street suggests 4 July would be the earliest date pubs, bars and restaurants can open their doors to customers once again.
The industry has said it needs at least three weeks to get ready for that to take place.
But that deadline has already passed, and there remains no word on whether they will be allowed to open from next month.
Number 10 on Monday said a review into relaxing the two-metre rule - seen as vital for many hospitality firms to function properly - will only be completed in “the coming weeks”.
Non-essential retail stores were given just five days to prepare for reopening on Monday, and pub-owners and restauranteurs have expressed fears they could be given as little warning.
But the Prime Minister’s official spokesman suggested 4 July may not be the date for reopening - saying that remained conditional on the UK continuing to meet the Government’s “five tests” for controlling Covid-19.
And he did not rule out the possibility of pubs reopening under one set of social distancing rules, then having to change their working practices for a new set of rules just days later.
“As with non-essential retail before it we will of course want to give as much notice as we can," he said.
Asked when a firm date would be given, the spokesperson replied replied: ”I don't have a specific date that I can give you.”
And Number 10 added: “I’m not in a position to give you a date. If I was in a position to then I'd be doing so, but I'm not.”
It comes after the British Beer & Pub Association warned 40% of the UK’s 47,000 pubs may never reopen as a result of the coronavirus lockdown
Spelling out the Government's work to help the industry, the PM’s spokesman said: “We have the specialist task forces which have been working very closely with the hospitality industry.
"We've also published guidance setting out steps which businesses will take to provide safety to their customers and for their staff.
“We are heavily engaged in conversation with the hospitality industry and working with them and we understand that they will want to get going again as soon as they possibly can.
“But we have a duty to ensure that, when reopening does take place, that it's done in a safe way.”
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