Financial aid ‘vital’ if 21 June reopening delayed

17th May, 2021 by Melita Kiely

As bars across England resume indoor service today (17 May), trade body UK Hospitality has warned that if the next phase of reopening is delayed it is “vital” additional financial support is provided for the sector.

Bars reopening

Bars across England can reopen for indoor service from Monday 17 May

From today, hospitality venues across England can reopen for indoor service as part of the third phase of easing Covid-19 restrictions.

However, at a press conference last week, UK prime minister Boris Johnson warned stage four of his roadmap out of lockdown could be delayed beyond 21 June because of a rise in cases of the Indian Covid-19 variant.

Scientists believe the current vaccines will work against the Indian strain of the virus, but that it could be more transmissible than other variants, such as the Kent mutation.

The fourth stage of the roadmap would see all legal limits removed on mixing and the remaining closed sectors, such as nightclubs, would be reopened. Larger events would also be permitted to take place and social distancing measures would be reviewed.

Kate Nicholls, UK Hospitality CEO, said: “The prime minister’s statement has introduced an element of doubt surrounding the dropping of restrictions on 21 June.

“The situation will clearly be closely monitored but should the roadmap timings slip, it is vital financial supports are forthcoming, and that business rates are postponed until October.

“Businesses need a swift, publicly stated commitment that supports would be in place in the event of a delay to step four, to give venues some reassurance as they look toward the challenges of viable trading.”

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