Boris Johnson has confirmed the next stage of England’s roadmap for easing coronavirus restrictions will take place next Monday as planned.
Non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality will reopen for the first time in months – and the ‘stay local’ message will end, meaning some domestic holidays will be possible.
Roadmap Stage 2 – April 12th
Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to serve food and alcohol outdoors. Unlike restrictions in December last year, there will be no requirement for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and there will be no 10pm closure.
But customers still cannot stand at the bar, and must order, eat and drink while seated outside.
The rule of six will apply (up to six people, or two separate households) as will social distancing rules. You will be required to wear a face covering when not seated.
In Mondays Downing Street press conference, the PM positively announced that the four tests for easing lockdown in England had been met. Boris then confirmed that the relaxing of restrictions, including outdoor hospitality had also been approved to go ahead.
In this press conference there was no announcement regarding the ‘Covid Passport’ in the PM’s opening statement, however, Iain Watson from the BBC brought them straight to the table when the journalist’s questions began. Mr Watson stated that proposals around vaccine passports had managed to “achieve the remarkable political feat of uniting a former Labour leader and a former Conservative leader against them”.
Boris Johnson was adamant stating that “There is absolutely no question of people being asked to produce certification when they go to the shops or to the pub garden.” He then added that they are not planned for Roadmap stage 3 either.
However, the PM did confirm that the passport method will be tested for major events in the months ahead and for international travel. Expanding on the travel element he also stated that “The idea of ones’ vaccination status being useful for international travel is something that all countries are looking at. I do think that’s going to be part of the way people deal with it and we need to think about that.”
The fact that ‘Covid Passports’ are not currently planned for entry to pubs and restaurants is a big boost to the hospitality sector. There were concerns in the industry about legal implications and enforcement issues. Additionally, there will be concerns amongst customers about privacy issues.
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Written by Luke Harris