The Government is reportedly revising its roadmap out of lockdown, with plans to keep restrictions in place in pubs and restaurants amid concerns over new coronavirus variants.
Social distancing in hospitality venues, working from home and masks on public transport could all remain in place after the so-called “Freedom Day” on 21 June, senior government advisers have told the i newspaper.
A full relaxation of restrictions is likely to be delayed for “a few weeks” as medical experts argue it will allow more people to be vaccinated and thus offer greater certainty against another lockdown.
A Government source told the i: “The current thinking is it would be irresponsible to risk another full locdown in the autumn by opening up too fast on 21 June.”
“While many businesses would have been hoping to operate at full capacity in a few weeks’ time it is better than they can operate at reduced capacity rather than being shut down completely again if we hit another peak.”
While pubs may no longer be required to provide table service social distancing in hospitality venues is likely to remain in place, in a huge blow to the hospitality industry.
This evening Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, hit out at the report, saying a continuation of restrictions means “June 21 is not freedom date at all”.
Venues such as nightclubs, that had been widely expected to open come 21 June, will not be able to open at capacity, and a restriction in numbers for outdoor events places the viability of music festivals in doubt.
It comes after City A.M. revealed the government was minded to take a “gentle” approach in getting people back to the office this summer.
Government sources told City A.M. that ministers will not take a hardline approach to get people back into the office, unlike last year when Number 10 briefed media outlets that workers could be sacked if they continue to work from home.