The opening of outdoor hospitality
On the 12th April restaurants with outdoor seating and pub gardens will be allowed to open and serve customers sitting outdoors. Upon reopening, businesses will be able to serve alcohol without a substantial meal, and the 10pm curfew will not be returning.
To support venues reopening the government's Pavement Scheme, which allows restaurants and bars to set up tables and chairs on public highways, has been extended for 12 months.
Pub’s right to have marquees without planning permission for up to 2 months beforehand will also continue.
Businesses will receive a one week notice before the reopening dates to confirm that they will be able to open.
Who is most likely to return
According to a poll by KAM Media, 1-in-3 adults say they will return to hospitality when it is re-opened for outdoor seating.
The younger generations are more likely to visit venues in April with 43% of 18-24 year olds saying that they’ll return, compared with only 24% of over 55 year olds. This reflects the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme with younger people frequenting restaurants and pubs more than older generations.
Some people are still very cautious to return, 26% of UK adults are planning on returning to hospitality when indoor seating reopens, and 33% said they were not planning to return for the foreseeable future.
“One in four (39%) consumers are intending to eat and drink out more often when the lockdown restrictions are lifted, compared with before the pandemic, new research has revealed. The figure rises to two-thirds (66%) among 18 to 24-year-olds and 55% among 25 to 34-year-olds.”
Airship, Toggle, Sheffield Hallam University
Pub gardens that have the means to pre-book tables say that they are fully booked for months. The demand to visit hospitality is huge, a cocktail bar in Manchester has reported that they are fully booked for 10 consecutive weekends.
The government have faced criticism that they are opening hospitality too late
The government have been criticised for opening non-essential retail before indoor hospitality venues as there is no evidence that either is more covid secure than the other.
Hugh Osmond, the founder of Punch Taverns, and Sacha Lord, Greater Manchester’s nighttime economy adviser say that the industry is losing £200 million a day. They argue that there is ‘no evidence or justification’ to open shops five weeks before pubs and restaurants.
On the 18th March, Sacha Lord has confirmed that the government failed to provide the evidence behind their decision to open non-essential retail and gyms before indoor hospitality venues. Subsequently, High Court action will be taken.
Our top tips for a safe reopening
Research suggests that your business will be entering an extremely busy period this April so it’s important to continue to be due diligent and keep your guests safe.
Aside from the steps taken to keep everyone safe from the spread of Covid, food safety also needs to be prioritised.
We offer many services which aim to keep your customers and brand safe. Our online recipe and menu management system Smart Chef stores all of your menu information in one place. Chefs & development teams can use the Smart Chef application in kitchens to access recipes, allergen information, % margins and portion sizes, all whilst reducing errors in the kitchen.
With the latest government guidance for calorie reductions, portion sizes on some meals will need to be reduced to meet the new regulations. With Smart Chef, kitchen staff and food business operators can easily access the dish information, therefore can update portion sizes quickly and efficiently in order to meet the new guidance.
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On the 22nd February the Prime minister announced the lockdown exit strategy. The dates below are the earliest that businesses in hospitality will reopen.
On the 12th April restaurants and pub gardens will be allowed to serve customers sitting outdoors. All non-essential retail will reopen, indoor sports facilities will reopen, as will hairdressers.
On the 17th May, hospitality venues can seat customers indoors which will allow venues without outdoor seating to reopen for dine in again.
On the 21st June all lockdown restrictions will be lifted and nightclubs will be able to reopen.
This timeline is subjective change based on the number of Covid cases and deaths.