Health secretary says pubs with outdoor spaces could reopen over summer
Thursday, May 7, 2020
Health secretary Matt Hancock has offered the possibility that outside spaces at cafes, restaurants and pubs could be allowed to reopen over the summer. Hancock was answering questions from viewers on Sky News, including one from a man who asked about the two-metre distancing rule and how he could safely reopen his cafe once the lockdown is lifted.
Hancock said: “The business secretary (Alok Sharma) is working on the rules for safe working so, when we get the rate of new infections down, we can work on how people can get back to work as safely as possible. And we are going to say more about that very shortly. We’re very careful to follow the clinical advice on the two-metre rule, but there’s also very strong evidence that outdoors the spread is much, much lower so there may be workarounds that some businesses, for instance cafes especially over the summer, might be able to put into place.”
The next stage in the coronavirus lockdown will start on Monday (11 May), Boris Johnson has confirmed as the government pushes to reopen the economy. The prime minister will make a televised speech on Sunday announcing a “road map” out of the current lockdown, with the first changes taking effect the next day. As part of this, there is growing speculation that the government is likely to give more leeway for outdoors activities to restart because of the reduced risk of transmitting the coronavirus in the open air. This raises the prospect of cafe terraces and beer gardens opening over the summer while pubs and restaurants with no outside areas must remain closed. A source told iNews: “There’s the sense in government that when things start to move on to the next stage, things are much more likely to happen outdoors than indoors. Epidemiologically, there is a slightly more liberal attitude to things that happen outdoors. It certainly looks a lot bleaker for indoor events.”