United Kingdom

Pub chiefs warn 'vast majority' will not reopen tomorrow

Hospitality bosses today warned the 'vast majority' of pubs in England will not be able to reopen tomorrow because they do not have adequate outdoor space. 

The next step in Boris Johnson's lockdown exit roadmap will see pubs, bars and restaurants allowed to welcome back customers outside but only if there is table seating. 

It means many businesses will have to wait another five weeks until May 17 when indoor hospitality is due to be given the green light to resume. 

Pub chiefs said as a result of the continued wait for many firms to be able to welcome back customers the Government must lift social distancing rules on June 21 to give companies the chance to bounce back. 

It is estimated that almost two thirds of pubs across England will not be able to reopen tomorrow. 

Meanwhile non-essential shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries and community centres will also reopen, but there are concerns that footfall could remain well-below pre-pandemic levels. 

Hospitality bosses today warned the 'vast majority' of pubs in England will not be able to reopen tomorrow because they do not have adequate outdoor space

The next step in Boris Johnson's lockdown exit roadmap will see pubs, bars and restaurants allowed to welcome back customers outside but only if there is table seating

Gyms are preparing to reopen on Monday, including in Derbyshire (pictured), as part of the roadmap out of lockdown

Breweries, including one in Brixton, have been busy delivering kegs ahead of pubs reopening

Researchers from the universities of Portsmouth and Edinburgh have found that people have been 'conditioned' to avoid crowded spaces during the past year.

And they say this leads to shoppers experiencing higher levels of stress, lower levels of excitement and greater difficulty focusing on a shopping task when in the presence of large crowds of other shoppers.

Dr Jason Sit, senior lecturer in marketing at the University of Portsmouth, said: 'Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our lives including the ways we perceive and interact with other people in enclosed spaces.

'For over a year now, we have been "conditioned" to avoid being at crowded venues, maintain social distancing from others and shop alone at retail stores when possible, in order to minimise human-to-human contacts and thus the contagion.

Four million people have booked to visit a venue in the two weeks starting from tomorrow. Pubs have been preparing for the return of punters by ordering up drink supplies, including in Falmouth, pictured above 

Shops have spent the past week preparing for the ban on non-essential retail to be lifted, but experts have warned a year of Covid-19 measures could be a 'death knell' for malls. Pictured: John Lewis staff cleaning the store in Sloane Square on Friday

Non-essential retailers can reopen tomorrow, with salon owners claiming there has been an 'explosion' in bookings from people looking to get haircuts or have their nails done

A survey has revealed 76% of people are ready to return to their workout when gyms reopen on Monday morning 

An exclusive Mail on Sunday poll has found the use of the vaccine passport documents was backed by 63 per cent of respondents, with 25 per cent opposed

'Prior to Covid-19, many shopping centres were already experiencing decreasing consumer traffic. These fears may be exacerbated by concerns regarding close social interaction with other shoppers and a concern about air circulation in an enclosed setting.'

Co-author Mark Rosenbaum, dean of Graham School of Management at Saint Xavier University, said such fears could be the 'death knell' for many malls.

While there are gloomy predictions for shops reopening, salons and tourist attractions are expecting a busy return to business.

Indoor swimming pools will also be able to reopen tomorrow, with Cottons Hotel and Spa in Cheshire getting ready yesterday

Ukactive said data from 2,000 operators suggested the prevalence of the virus among visitors who had used facilities remained 'extremely low' between July and December. Pictured: Shredz Fitness Centre in Derbyshire getting ready to welcome visitors back tomorrow 

Unchecked Covid hotspots could lead to a THIRD wave if Britain reopens too quickly

Unchecked Covid hotspots could lead to a third wave of the virus if the country reopens too quickly, scientists warn.

Ministers have been blasted for ignoring their pledge to follow 'data not dates' when lifting lockdown in line with Boris Johnson's roadmap.

As it stands, six groups - or two households - can meet outside. Outdoor pubs and restaurants, alongside non-essential shops, are to reopen their doors on Monday.

Official figures show an average of 30.7 cases per 100,000. 

But five local authority areas, Wakefield, Barnsley, Mansfield, Corby and Clackmannanshire, have three times that figure. Twenty-eight have at least double. 

Leeds University medical school Associate Professor Stephen Griffin said there are still 'far too many virus hotspots and not enough attention being paid to controlling infections that might spread from them'. 

Parts of West Yorkshire, the Black Country and other regions still have high case figures but people can often not afford to isolate, Professor Griffin said, adding: 'We need to tackle that issue urgently or the virus will come back again.' 

Warwick medical school's Professor Lawrence Young told The Observer: 'We need a properly funded system for quarantining infected people. We don't have that and we could head back into trouble again quite quickly.'

The scientists argue that waiting until more people are vaccinated would be a better approach.

Chester Zoo chief executive Jamie Christon said it has enjoyed a 'great deal of demand', with the majority of tickets sold out for the coming days.

Mr Christon said: 'I expect that we're going to be busy. We want to open next Monday and stay open for the entire year.'

Mr Christon said it has been 'pretty difficult' for the business during the pandemic, as it costs around £1.6 million every month to maintain the zoo, including looking after its 19,000 animals.

'Even though the gates have been closed to the public, life in the zoo still goes on', he said.

'We can't furlough the animals, and we've had no assistance from the Government at all.'

Steve Jarvis, co-founder of website Independent Cottages, which promotes around 1,800 self-catering properties, said around 80% of its sites are booked over the next fortnight.

The 'huge appetite for UK holidays' began at the start of the year, he explained.

The firm recorded more than double the number of bookings in January and February compared with the same period in 2020.

'To have that interest and confidence for people to book is terrific,' Mr Jarvis said. 

He added that although properties in the popular tourist destinations of Cornwall and Devon are 95% booked up, other areas are 'catching up quickly'.

Salons warned there had been an 'explosion' in bookings for tomorrow.

Secret Spa co-owner Emily Ewart-Perks said there had been even more interest in compared to the first lockdown last year, with 26 clients booked from midnight to 8am on Monday.

When comparing numbers from July 4 2020, when hairdressers were allowed to reopen following the first lockdown, to April 12 this year, Mrs Ewart-Perks said bookings for tanning had gone up by 475% as a result of 'a lack of sunshine over the past five months or sight of holidays abroad'.

She said bookings for manicures and pedicures had also increased by 163%, waxing 127%, massages 108% and hair 31%.

Chester Zoo is among the tourist attractions planning to reopen tomorrow. chief executive Jamie Christon is hoping crowds will quickly return, as it costs £1.6million just to maintain the zoo. Pictured: Crowds arriving when the zoo first reopened last June

Salons warned there had been an 'explosion' in bookings for tomorrow, with some bookings scheduled for midnight. Pictured: A hairdressers in Leeds operating under Covid restrictions last July 

Workers at John Lewis returned to the shop floor earlier this week to make sure it was fully Covid-compliant, ahead of the return of customers 

Ms Ewart-Perks told the PA news agency: 'We are really busy on the 12th, it is so exciting, it has been a long time coming.

'We knew we were going to be busy even before Boris (Johnson) confirmed on Monday that close contact services could reopen, but after that announcement we saw an even bigger surge in bookings.

'This is like an explosion, there is so much pent-up demand. I think people were waiting for that date to be set in stone.'

Gyms and indoor swimming pools are also set to reopn tomorrow, with a survey showing 76% of people are ready to return to their workout.

Ukactive said data from 2,000 operators suggested the prevalence of the virus among visitors who had used facilities remained 'extremely low', at an overall rate of 1.7 cases per 100,000 visits, measured from 75 million visits across the UK between July 25 to December 27.

Polling by ukactive and ComRes suggested 42% of UK adults were sitting for at least 14 hours longer per week during lockdown.

A survey by ukactive of its members showed approximately 400 facilities had already been lost during the crisis, while lockdown had resulted in £90 million in lost membership fees each week.

While pubs and restaurants can reopen outdoors, analysis showed that 43 per cent of hospitality firms have outdoor space but many, particularly those in urban areas, only have space for standing rather than tables. 

The UK Hospitality industry body warned that even the pubs and restaurants that can reopen may only make one fifth of their normal revenue.

Kate Nicholls, of UK Hospitality, told The Sunday Telegraph: 'Fewer than two in five will even be able to open on Monday - the vast majority will remain closed without revenue for another five weeks. 

'Just 22 per cent of the sector's trading is likely to return, and that is weather dependent.

'So while it is great to be able to bring our teams back to work and welcome back family and friends to socialise safely, this is not sufficient to ensure the long-term viability of business and jobs.

'The Government needs to stick to the roadmap plan to lift social distancing restrictions from June 21.'

Only hospitality venues that can offer outdoor service will reopen tomorrow.

Figures compiled by hospitality industry website Caterer.com show that four million people have booked to visit a venue in the two weeks starting from tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, the Centre for Economic and Business Research suggests that the hospitality sector will get a £314 million boost this week alone. 

There will be no requirement for customers to order a 'substantial meal' in order to buy alcoholic drinks but the requirement to order, eat and drink while seated will return.  

The Government has said that it wants to 'remove all legal limits on social contact' from June 21 - the final date in Mr Johnson's roadmap. 

However, ministers have not given a firm commitment for when social distancing rules will end, with experts warning some measures may need to be kept in place long into the future. 

A Whitehall review is currently weighing up 'how and when to safely lift or amend the 1m+ rule and related COVID-secure measures'.

63% of voters back use of vaccine passports in Mail On Sunday poll

Voters overwhelmingly back the use of vaccine passports as a ‘bridge to freedom’, an exclusive Mail on Sunday poll has found.

The use of ‘Covid status’ documents was backed by 63 per cent of respondents to the Deltapoll survey, with 25 per cent opposed.

Some 66 per cent would feel comfortable using them for the pub, 62 per cent for the office, 67 per cent for hairdressers, 68 per cent for supermarkets, 65 per cent for sports events and 70 per cent for holidays abroad.

Boris Johnson’s relaxation of many of the rules tomorrow brings a collective sigh of relief across the nation, with the return to pubs, restaurants and shops welcomed by most people. The most popular change is the return of visits to the homes of friends and family, backed by 86 per cent.

The announcement last week that the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab had been linked to extremely rare blood clots is reflected in the fact that the Pfizer jab is deemed the best option by 27 per cent of people, followed by 16 per cent for Oxford and 5 per cent for the new Moderna jab. A total of 36 per cent do not have a preference. Of those vaccinated, 50 per cent say they had minor side-effects, 5 per cent major side-effects and 45 per cent experienced none.

Deltapoll co-founder and director Joe Twyman said introducing the passports before sufficient people have been vaccinated ‘could undermine their popularity’.

The firm interviewed 1,608 British adults online from April 8-10, weighting the data to represent the adult population. 

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