Majority of UK bars and pubs to reopen in July
Nearly one million hospitality employees are expected to return to work as almost 70% of UK bars and pubs plan to reopen this month, according to a new survey.
Last week (23 June), UK prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed bars, pubs and restaurants in England can reopen, both indoors and outdoors, from Saturday (4 July). This will coincide with a relaxation of the two-metre rule to one-metre-plus – although two metres will still be the recommended distance where possible. The hospitality industry in the UK has been closed since 20 March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A new survey by trade body UK Hospitality showed more than 960,000 staff are expected to return to work from furlough during July, with another 720,000 people estimated to be working by the end of September.
The research, which collated responses from the operators of more than 15,000 UK venues, also found that around 60% of the nation’s hospitality sector will reopen on or within a few days of 4 July.
Looking at pubs and bars, 53% are planning to open around 4 July, while 16% will open later in July. In August, a further 10% of pubs and bars will open, while 11% will open in September and 5% in October or later.
UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the results of the survey demonstrated the “very hard work that businesses have put in getting themselves ready to reopen”.
She said: “Everyone can see the devastating effect that this crisis has had on hospitality businesses. Venues have been closed for months and millions of workers in the sector have been furloughed. To see such large numbers of businesses ready to open again, welcoming back so many staff members so quickly is hugely encouraging.
“We know that lots of customers have been incredibly keen to get back out and support their local businesses. It means a lot to customers to be able to go to their favourite restaurant or pub again, but it will mean even more to staff members who may have been unsure whether they would be able to return to their jobs.
“There is still a long way to go and businesses are by no means out of the woods yet. This is a very positive start, though. Getting venues open and customers through the doors means that more jobs will be kept safe.’
“Despite the positive news we need support for those businesses that are still not able to open, and for those whose jobs rely upon them.”
The UK government also recently introduced temporary changes to licensing laws, which will allow more bars and pubs to sell alcohol outdoors.