PUNTERS are back in beer gardens and outdoor dining areas at cafes and restaurants, enjoying pints, coffees and food alike.
The Prime Minister's four-step plan to ease lockdown in England finally brought back the long-awaited return of the hospitality industry.
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The first part of the plan rolled out on March 8 and saw kids return to classrooms, care home residents allowed to receive one indoor visitor and two people being allowed to meet outdoors.
The “Rule of Six” was reinstated on March 29 for gatherings in parks and private gardens — allowing six people from up to six different households to mix outdoors.
The next step of the plan saw pubs and restaurants reopen with outdoor service on April 12, ahead of indoor service returning in May.
From today, April 26, pubs in Wales and Scotland can also reopen for outdoor service, while those in Northern Ireland are set to reopen on April 30.
Which pubs are open?
Outdoor drinking in English pub beer gardens is back on the cards since restrictions lifted on April 12.
But eating and drinking inside at pubs and restaurants will be off the menu until May 17 at the earliest.
Major venues like nightclubs, theatres, and cinemas aren't likely to open until later in the summer at the earliest either.
Mr Johnson insisted that the timeline for businesses to reopen relies heavily on the "four steps to freedom", which includes the vaccine rollout continuing as planned and evidence that the jabs are effective at reducing hospitalisations and deaths.
Lots of local village pubs and restaurants reopened on April 12 for outdoor service, alongside many major chains. These include:
Pubs and bars
- Wetherspoons reopened in 394 locations.
- Four O’Neill’s pubs reopened.
- 181 Fuller's pubs reopened.
- All Bar One reopened eight of its 52 UK bars.
- Young's brewery told The Sun it reopened 140 pubs.
- Stonegate Pub Company operates over 700 pubs and bars across the UK and reopened around 45% of its England estate.
- Marston's reopened 696 pubs.
- Harvester reopened eight restaurants.
- 442 Greene King pubs across England reopened.
- ASK Italian opened 41 restaurants.
- Byron has confirmed it opened 17 restaurants.
- Five Guys fans can dine outdoors at 48 restaurants in England.
- Zizzi reopened 81 restaurants.
- Wagamama reopened 72 of its restaurants.
- The Real Greek restaurant chain reopened 15 branches.
- TGI Fridays reopened 28 restaurants.
- Prezzo reopened 70 restaurants.
- Pret A Manger reopened 323 restaurants.
- Pizza Express reopened 118 restaurants.
- Nandos reopened 267 restaurants.
- McDonald's reopened 443 branches for outdoor seating.
What rules are in place at the pub?
The rules Brits need to stick to while taking a trip down to their local are much more relaxed compared to when pubs were last open – but some restrictions will remain in place.
The 10pm curfew has been scrapped, and punters won't have to buy a scotch egg or any other food to get served alcohol.
However, social distancing will remain in place at least until autumn, with measures set to be reconsidered in the summer when more people are vaccinated.
Boozers will have to stick to the “rule of six” limits or be in a party with no more than two households presents, while abiding to two-metre distancing from others.
Pub-goers aged 16 and over have to check in to NHS Test and Trace or provide their contact details to staff.
And there is still no more flitting from table to table – customers must order, eat and drink while seated at a table and if they head to the toilet or elsewhere, then face masks must be worn, unless exempt.
This is expected to stay all summer as a compromise for the early reopening.
Pub bosses have blasted the outdoor-only drinking plan and have demanded the return of inside drinking.
Industry leaders have backed demands for lockdown restrictions to be fully lifted by the end of the month, when most over-50s are expected to have been vaccinated.
Patrick Dardis, chief executive of the Young’s pubs chain, said that spring rain would make the outdoors-only idea unworkable and slammed it as "nonsense".
Meanwhile, Tim Martin, chairman of pubs giant JD Wetherspoon, said the decision had been made by “ministers with no experience of business, or empathy for business”.
Plus, O'Neill's owner Mitchells & Butlers has warned "a majority" of its venues will stay shut due to outdoor-only restrictions.
What other businesses have reopened?
Non-essential shops reopened at the same time as pubs, alongside personal care premises such as salons and barbers, and outdoor attractions, including zoos and theme parks.
Under the ease of restrictions, Brits will also welcome the return of smaller outdoor events – the likes of fetes and fairgrounds – as well as indoor leisure and sports facilities permitting individual exercise.
Self contained accommodation has also opened up for overnight stays in England, as long as it is with someone from your household or support bubble, though "staying local" is encouraged.
Here is the rest of the reopening plan laid out:
- Pubs and restaurants can serve food and drink indoors
- Indoor gyms and fitness clubs
- Sports stadiums with a cap on 10,000 visitors
- Bingo halls
- Saunas and spas
- No cap on the number of guests allowed at a wedding
Staycations could be back in June thanks to the traffic light system, which will grade countries on their covid-risk, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
He told the BBC: "This is the first time I'm able to come on and say I'm not advising against booking foreign holidays."
Meanwhile, self-catered accommodation is now allowed to operate.
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