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‘Huge relief’ as bars in England can fully reopen

Yesterday (12 July), the UK government confirmed legal restrictions and social distancing in England will be lifted next week, meaning hospitality can fully reopen.

London outdoor campaign
London’s bar scene will be able to fully reopen from 19 July without Covid-19 restrictions, such as social distancing

On Monday, the health secretary, Sajid Javid, confirmed plans to ease Covid-19 restrictions from 19 July, allowing pubs, bars and clubs to trade as normal.

Trade body UK Hospitality welcomed the confirmation, and said it brought “huge relief” for the industry.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UK Hospitality, said: “A week from now, for the first time in 16 months [hospitality venues] will be able to move towards profitability, which is vital for the future of a sector beset by Covid-related debts.

“For profitability to be reached as soon as possible, it’s vital that businesses are able to reach their own solutions, to suit their settings, satisfy their risk assessments and optimise implementation costs while ensuring safety.

“The voluntary nature of the government guidance should ensure that this is achievable.”

While the government is not making the Covid-19 Pass compulsory, UK prime minister Boris Johnson said the government was “urging” nightclubs and high-capacity venues to adopt the ‘passport’.

“As a matter of social responsibility we’re urging nightclubs and other venues with large crowds to make use of the NHS Covid Pass – which shows proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity – as a means of entry,” Johnson said.

A number of leading bars have been unable to weather the Covid-19 storm. Most recently, London bar Scout closed for good because of the pandemic.

Other venues that have been forced to shut due to the coronavirus crisis include London’s Milk & Honey and New York City’s Pegu Club.

Repeated lockdowns – not just in the UK, but globally – mean the industry is also grappling with a growing rent debt crisis and staff shortages, both a direct result of the pandemic.

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