Boris Johnson looking at late April for earliest ease in hospitality lockdown say reports


Boris Johnson is set to respond to the pleas from the hospitality sector and allow pubs and restaurants to start to open their doors again in late April, according to reports today.

The Prime Minister will outline plans for the country to come out of its latest lockdown on Monday (22 February).

These will be geared towards opening up the economy as quickly as possible from 8 March, when schools are set to re-open, according to Sky News.

Higher education and further education sites will follow in mid-April when non-essential shops would also reopen.

Late April would see hospitality venues, hotels, leisure facilities and some sporting venues allowed to re-open in a limited way while entertainment venues and some sporting would follow a few weeks later in May, said the report.

Nightclubs became the latest part of the hospitality industry to warn of dire consequences unless they are allowed to resume some form of normalised trading soon.

A committee of MPs said that the nightlife industry faces ‘extinction’ in the UK and needs extensive financial support just to cope with the damage already inflicted by almost a year of lockdown.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Night Time Economy said the collapse of bars and nightclubs would create ‘ghost towns’ across Britain.

Highlighting the catastrophic impact that the three lockdowns have had on the nightlife sector, AAPG said on average 37% of staff have been made redundant with revenues at 28% of pre-pandemic levels.

Jeff Smith, the committee’s chair, warned: “Our world-leading night clubs, pubs, bars, and live music venues are cornerstones of our communities.

“They drive so much economic activity both locally and nationally, and bring hope, joy and entertainment to millions across the UK,” he said.

“If the government is serious about its ‘levelling up’ agenda it must act now to save this sector and avoid untold damage to the social fabric of this country.”

Earlier this week, Boris Johnson said that rapid Covid-19 tests might be a way forward for nightclubs and theatres to re-open, but attempts to introduce similar testing regimes for air travel have proved problematic.

The UK airline industry today also called for travel to be allowed to get back normal to avoid more financial damage and job losses.

Speaking at an online event organised by trade body Airline UK, EasyJet’s chief executive Johan Lundgren said that more financial support would be needed unless the sector gets flying again soon.

Airlines are desperate to take advantage of the normal surge in travelling during the summer holiday season.

Travel operators have bookings for holidays have picked up recently, even for overseas locations, despite the uncertainty in the hope that some of the current lockdown restrictions might be eased especially with the success of the UK’s vaccination programme.

Shares in easyJet eased 1% to 799p, while Mecca Bingo owner Rank Group PLC was flat at 140.2p.


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