On Tuesday 23rd June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the House of Commons to announce the government’s next steps to relax the coronavirus lockdown. With the virus seemingly in retreat, the focus is now firmly on allowing businesses to reopen safely in order to give the economy a much-needed boost.
What was announced?
1. Social distancing reduced to 1m+
The hospitality industry had been warning for some time that the 2m social distancing rule will need to be reduced for many restaurants and pubs to be able to reopen. Similar concerns have also been raised by schools if they are to be able to welcome their full quota of students back in September.
The government has responded by reducing the recommended distance down to 1m, provided that people take other precautions such as wearing face masks and using protective screens. The is being referred to as ‘1-metre plus’, and should only apply where people are unable to stay 2 metres apart.
In response to this, we have launched a range of 1m Distancing Floor Stickers and 1m Distancing Floor Tape, both of which are available pre-printed with free next day delivery.
2. Restaurants, bars and pubs to reopen
As expected, the hospitality industry will be allowed to open their doors to customers from 4th July onwards. This means that bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes will once again be able to start serving food and drink on their premises, many of whom have pivoted to offer a delivery service to generate revenue during the height of the lockdown.
They will be limited to table service only with a focus on minimising staff and customer contact. Customers will be required to give contact information that will allow for the test and trace system to work should a case of COVID-19 be reported.
The reduction in the 2m rule is especially good news for these establishments. UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls had previously stated that these businesses would only be able to make around 30% of their normal revenue if they had to enforce a 2m social distance, and that this would increase to up to 75% with a 1m rule.
Restaurants and bars looking to reopen are able to get prepared with our vast range of menu printing options.
2. Hairdressers to reopen
Hairdressers will also be able to reopen on 4th July, although the Prime Minister stated that this would be ‘with appropriate precautions, including the use of visors.’ Other close contact services such as nail bars will be allowed to reopen once the government is confident that they can operate in a COVID-secure way.
3. Hotels, B&B’s and campsites to reopen
Provided that no more than two households stay together, people will be able to stay in hotels, B&B’s and campsites as of 4th July. This is on the proviso that shared facilities are kept clean.
4. Most leisure facilities and tourist locations to reopen
As of 4th July, people will be able to indulge in the arts once more with the reopening of cinemas, museums and galleries. These venues will need to implement a social distancing policy, but this move will allow them to start welcoming visitors again.
This is particularly good news for museums that operate on a donation basis such as the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. They have spoken about the shortfall in donations they have experienced since not being able to welcome some of the 400,000 guests they attract each year, leading them to try and raise funds in other innovative ways.
Outdoor gyms, theme parks, arcades and libraries are also able to reopen, although theatres are not yet ready to resume live performances.
Recreation and sport is able to resume, but close contact team sports should only be played with members of your own household. Indoor changing rooms and courts should remain closed.
5. Close proximity businesses to remain closed
The following business will not yet be permitted to reopen:
- Soft play centres
- Indoor gyms
- Swimming pools
- Bowling alleys
- Water parks
- Nail bars
- Conference centres
- Tattoo parlours
There will however be task forces created in order to allow these businesses to reopen as soon as possible.