Pubs are to open with a hush rather than a bang with no raised voices, no loud music and a cap on numbers – and even stricter restrictions than expected.
They are among a range of safeguards that also include a requirement that pubs, restaurants, cafes and even takeaways to collect the names and contact details of customers.
Pubs are concerned this will be difficult, costly and bureaucratic – and that the measures as a whole will deter customers.
And publicans are not the only businesses struggling to meet the new requirements ahead of the July 4 day of freedom.
Hotels, hostels, B&Bs and other parts of the hospitality industry are also struggling to ensure they are ‘Covid-secure’ ahead of July 4.
Theme parks have also been told to ensure visitors don’t ‘unnecessarily raise their voices’ while imposing strictly distanced queues.
And hairdressers have also been told to keep their clients’ details for 21 days, while also providing disposable PPE for customers.
So what are the challenges that each sector faces?
Pubs and Restaurants
Under the new rules, groups of friends will not be allowed to sit together in pubs and restaurants with only people from a maximum of two households allowed to share a table from July 4.
Publicans and restaurant owners were surprised by the guidelines, which were published by the government yesterday and far stricter than expected.
Friends from more than two house holds will be allowed to visit but only outside, on terraces or beer gardens, and even then, only in groups of up to six people.
If they don’t comply, pubs risk being closed by environmental health officers or their local council.
The Information Commissioner has warned pubs and bars they must abide by data protection privacy rules around keeping details of customers secure.
This comes amid evidence from New Zealand of the misuse of this information. A woman using a Subway outlet who left her details on a contact form was subsequently pestered by a member of staff who tried to contact her via text, Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.
Bosses at UKHospitality and the British Beer & Pubs Association say the need to collect customer information is a major problem. In theory, staff will be required to demand contact details and keep them securely for 21 days. This is so they can be handed over to the NHS, track, trace and isolate regime.
However, the chief executive of UKHospitality, Kate Nicholls said: ‘This is going to be incredibly challenging.
‘With 11 days to go it is just not practical to develop a new system in one fell swoop.’
There will also be problems around restrictions on the number of people allowed in, enforcing social distancing, handling glasses, and running pubs with table service.
A waitress in PPE at a Greene King pub in Fort St George in Cambridge, as England adjusts to the new normal
The rules for socialising include asking customers not to shout, which could spread infection, while any music, or football on TV, will be turned down.
The guidance states: ‘All venues should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices.’
There will be no standing at the bar. There will also be controls on how many drinkers gather in a pub or beer garden.
The guidance adds: ‘Where necessary, inform customers that police and the local authorities have the powers to enforce requirements in relation to social distancing.’
Chief executive of the BBPA, Emma McClarkin said: ‘We do have significant concerns over the collection and storage of personal customer data.’
The Information Commissioner’s Office warned firms they must abide by data protection rules, ‘only collecting personal data that is necessary, making sure that it is not retained for longer than needed and keeping it secure.’
Temporary changes to licensing laws will allow many more licensed premises, such as pubs and restaurants, to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises. Pictured, people sit outside a pub that sells takeaway drinks in London
Police will retain the power to enter pubs to break up ‘large and irresponsible’ gatherings even after lockdown measures are eased, Downing Street has said.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that, while many of the rules and regulations of the past few months will become merely guidance, some powers will remain.
Masks in shops rejected by PM
Ministers were advised that masks should be worn in shops to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading – but it was not made mandatory by the Government.
The panel put in place to review the two-metre guidance said covering your face in ‘crowded indoor environments’ could help prevent transmission.
It said: ‘The following mitigations should be applied across all settings to reduce risk’, including ‘wearing face coverings when distances of two metres cannot be kept in indoor environments where possible.’
A commuter wears a face mask as she walks through the concourse at Waterloo Station in London on June 15
The panel singled out shops as somewhere where masks should be worn. But when he eased the lockdown earlier this week, Boris Johnson announced no plans to make it mandatory for people to wear masks in shops – just on public transport.
The review panel consisted of the chief medical officer, the chief scientific advisor and the Treasury’s chief economic advisor.
Last night Downing Street said they did advise people to wear masks in shops but it was not made mandatory because ‘you can leave a shop but you can’t get off a moving train’.
Pubs and restaurants have been exempted from laws that ban gatherings of more than 30, but the spokesman added: ‘What the police will be able to do is break up large and irresponsible gatherings of over 30 people.
‘If you have a very big gathering taking place in a park or the sort of raves we have seen taking place in parts of the country in recent weeks, police would have the power to break those up.’
The warning came amid fears that the easing of lockdown on July 4 – a day some are referring to as ‘Super Saturday’ – could cause massive problems for the police.
The plan has been criticised by some, with Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester, telling Sky News: ‘The plan to open everything on a Saturday, I think is a mistake. Police forces and councils across the country will think, well why is all of that happening on a Saturday?
‘The guidance around the two-metre rule doesn’t seem to me to be as clear as it should be. It’s too nuanced and we need simple messages for the public.’
Official guidance for pubs published yesterday advised landlords they should inform customers who refuse to follow social distancing rules that the police could be called.
Boris Johnson’s spokesman said police would also retain the power to enforce the wearing of face coverings on public transport, and that local authorities will have the power to close or fine businesses not following regulations.
He added: ‘Other regulations that remain are to help enforce that people arriving in the UK quarantine for 14 days and also the powers the authorities have to detain someone considered a public health risk.’
Meanwhile, laws to enable outdoor drinking, dining and shopping are to be fast-tracked through the Commons within a week.
Ministers will today publish a Business and Planning Bill designed to help the hospitality and retail sectors trade outdoors this summer.
The legislation will make it easier for local authorities to turn streets over to businesses struggling to cope with social distancing indoors.
Boris Johnson has asked ministers to fast-track the legislation so that it is in place by July 4, when the hospitality sector largely reopens. Controversial plans to reform Sunday trading laws have been dropped from the Bill to ensure it passes through Parliament quickly.
A government source said: ‘People talk about the cafe culture on the Continent and we want to recreate something like that here this summer – you could call it al fresco Britain. It obviously depends on everyone adopting a can-do attitude to try and save the summer, but we are going to play our part by cutting red tape and getting out of the way of business.
‘You could see closed-off streets laid out with tables and chairs for dining. We are removing the need for planning permission for outdoor markets, so you could see small shops and boutiques which are struggling with social distancing setting up market stalls.’
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that, while many of the rules and regulations of the past few months will become merely guidance, some powers will remain. Illegal raves will be broken up by officers. Pictured, an illegal street party in Manchester (left) and Bristol (right)
The move is designed to counter criticism that guidance for indoor hospitality and retail is too onerous and off-putting to customers.
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith yesterday said ‘red tape and caveats’ in hundreds of pages of guidance published for businesses would make it impossible for many firms to operate profitably.
But ministers hope the new outdoor freedoms could help keep many firms afloat this summer.
The focus of the legislation, which will allow outdoor trading without the need for planning permission, is on creating a much more permissive business environment outdoors, where scientists believe the virus spreads much less easily.
Temporary changes to licensing laws will allow many more licensed premises, such as pubs and restaurants, to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises. Pubs and restaurants will also be able to convert outside space such as car parks and terraces into seated areas.
Downing Street yesterday confirmed that hospitality businesses have been exempted from laws that ban gatherings of more than 30 people. No 10 said police would focus on breaking up ‘large, unruly’ gatherings, such as parties in parks and illegal raves.
Hairdressers have been told that they must collect the names and contact details of all their clients and keep them ‘securely’ for 21 days.
They must also give customers hand sanitisers when they enter and ensure there are disposable gowns for each person.
Hair salons and barbers could reopen on June 15, one source has claimed. The Gatsby and Miller in Amersham is among the hairdressers that says it is ready welcome customers again
An appointment-only system must be used, something that some barbers have already admitted has led to them being booked out for several weeks from July 4.
Alternate chairs should also be closed off and hairdressers must wear a visor.
Face-to-face procedures, such as eyelash extensions, should be avoided.
Hotels also faced a complex set of requirements, including urging guests to wear face masks on communal corridors and shutting off the lifts.
The Government advice asks hotels in England to urge guests to wear face masks on communal corridors. They should consider closing off the lifts, while room service orders should be left outside doors.
Families staying in hostels and B&Bs with shared bathrooms may also be told to book slots to use the shower, so they can be cleaned between use.
The guidance, provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, also says all visitors should be offered hand sanitiser on entry.
Hotel owners are urged to create a checklist of commonly-touched areas in bedrooms which staff must clean after each guest checks out. They are also encouraged to stagger check-in and check-out times.
As with pubs, no loud music should be played. Large groups, live performances and communal dancing are banned.
Theme parks must ensure that all customers use hand sanitisers on the way in.
The most eyebrow-raising measure is sure to be the government’s attempts to limit noise in theme parks when they reopen on July 4
When it comes to queueing, a guard should be posted to ensure social distancing, while another is allowed to look out for terror threats.
All customer details should be kept for 21 days, to help the test and trace system in case of an outbreak.
Timed tickets should be printed, with one-way systems around the park.
However, the most eyebrow-raising measure is sure to be the government’s attempts to limit noise in theme parks.
To do this, they request that no loud music is played, to discourage people from shouting, and they also request other steps are taken to stop visitors from ‘unnecessarily raising their voices’.
Pools, gyms and leisure centres
Though still banned from re-opening on July 4, there is hope that gyms and leisure centres could reopen by the end of the month, the Government said yesterday after leisure bosses accused them of ‘ignoring the health of the nation’.
Olympians condemned delays to the reopening of sporting and fitness centres.
Tanni Grey-Thompson, who won 11 Paralympic golds for Britain, yesterday warned Boris Johnson that more than 2,800 sports facilities were in danger of closure, risking 100,000 jobs.
Though outdoor gyms, such as this one in Oxford yesterday, are allowed to open, indoor ones are still banned from re-opening on July 4
In a letter to the Prime Minister she said that many in the industry had ‘lost faith’ in the Government’s strategy. Baroness Grey-Thompson, who chairs the leisure industry body ukactive, said: ‘To lose these facilities in the midst of the biggest health crisis could set back public health for a generation.’
She said safety plans submitted to the Government by the leisure industry on May 4 were all but ignored.
Leisure industry bosses yesterday challenged the Government to explain why pubs and restaurants have been deemed suitable for reopening but fitness centres have not.
Four-time Olympic medallist Rebecca Adlington said it was ‘incredibly disappointing to see swimming neglected by Boris Johnson’.
World record holder Adam Peaty, who won two Olympic swimming medals in 2016, described the decision to keep pools shut as ‘mad’.
Summer getaway back on: PM to give green light to foreign holidays
Boris Johnson will give the green light to foreign holidays next Monday when the Government unveils its long-awaited travel corridor plan.
Ministers will say Britons can visit any one of ten countries without having to quarantine – reviving summer holidays after almost four months of travel restrictions.
‘Air bridges’ to France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey have been all but confirmed, sources disclosed, with the first flights set to take off on July 4.
The Mail has learned Portugal is likely to be included on the list of destinations, despite concerns over recent outbreaks of Covid-19 in the Algarve.
Ministers are even on the verge of coming to a deal with Australia, as long as flights connect via low-risk countries such as Singapore.
Dozens more countries will be added in coming weeks, including important business destinations, but the initial announcement will be focused on popular holiday routes to give an instant shot in the arm to Britain’s crippled travel industry.
The Foreign Office is also expected to relax its warning against all but essential global travel for the first time since lockdown was imposed in mid-March. Instead, the risk of Covid-19 will be set to low, medium or high depending on infection rates in individual countries.
The plans – to be announced on Monday – will be finalised and signed off today in a meeting with officials from Downing Street, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Home and Foreign offices.
Airlines and airports are also expecting to be briefed on the plans today, giving them just over a week to prepare for the new holiday season.
Under the scheme, travel corridor nations are signing ‘memorandums of understanding’ with the Government, agreeing that whatever anti-coronavirus measures are taken in the UK must be mirrored by similarly stringent policies abroad. Giving examples to the transport committee yesterday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the other country having an equivalent to our test and trace system was important.
He also spoke of the need to consider the ‘level and trajectory’ of the virus abroad. Travel corridors will come as welcome news to the beleaguered tourism industry, with holiday firms and airlines likely to launch big promotions for last-minute holidays as soon as the announcement is made.
Ryanair has already seen a doubling of UK bookings for flights in July and August since the beginning of June, and price comparison site Travel Supermarket say demand for holidays to Spain has doubled over the past week compared to the week before.
This comes as more than 4,500 airport workers in the UK and Ireland face the axe after Britain’s biggest airport ground handling company announced plans to shed more than half its staff. Swissport yesterday announced job cuts as the pandemic has damaged the aviation industry.
The firm employs 8,500 workers at airports across the UK, including baggage handlers and check-in staff.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma yesterday said leisure facilities could open ‘at some point later on in July’ if certain health tests are met, including the R rate staying below one.
Mark Sesnan, managing director of GLL, which operates 270 local authority leisure centres, said the decision ‘defied logic’ and the Government was ‘ignoring the health of the nation’.
Theatres and music venues face a ‘catastrophic’ collapse with severe restrictions still in place as lockdown is eased, industry leaders have warned.
Bosses of leading arts bodies said they are ‘battling for survival’ and that the industry needs a £1billion rescue package to make it through to next year.
Theatres and concert halls will be allowed to open from July 4 but not for live performances. And bosses said implementing the reduced one metre social distancing measures would still leave venues only a quarter full.
Some theatres have accepted they will be closed until next year despite fears that many could go bust before then.
Joanna Lumley said the artistic industries, which employ hudreds of thousands in the UK, had already hit ‘rock bottom’ and that theatres do ‘not have a chance of looking into the future’.
Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville said a ‘co-ordinated survival strategy is desperately needed’ for the survival of Britain’s near 1,000 theatres amid the threat of mass redundancies. He wrote: ‘Dear Government, in the rush to the pub don’t forget the thousands of venues whose doors remain closed.’
Earlier this week, the heads of 68 arts bodies including the National Theatre and English National Opera said the arts are a ‘national success story, vital to Britain’s economic prosperity’. In a letter, they wrote: ‘Without immediate and substantial financial support theatres and performing arts companies will close and tens of thousands of artistic careers will be cut short.’
Downing Street hinted yesterday that it was considering further financial aid for areas including London’s West End.
Theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh said Government inaction had forced him to take ‘drastic steps’, including putting off staging his biggest hits, including Les Miserables, until next year and launching a redundancy plan for staff. He told the Financial Times: ‘Their inability to say when the impossible constraints of social distancing will be lifted makes it equally impossible for us to properly plan for whatever the new future is.’
Dame Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, warned yesterday venues will be taking ‘irrevocable decisions’ to cut staff if support is not announced within ten days.
A survey of the Independent Theatre Council and Music Venue Trust carried out by ITV News found 97.5 per cent of venues and companies fear they face permanent closure.
It came as Dame Judi Dench, 85, told Channel 4 News she was unsure theatres would reopen in her lifetime.
A trip to the movies is a popular pastime for Britons and, unsurprisingly, the return of the cinema is sure to be a popular decision.
However, sitting in a dark theatre, packed together with potentially hundreds of other cinema-goers to watch the latest blockbuster, could potentially be a hotbed for coronavirus spread.
To combat this, cinemas will be required to limit capacity and bookings.
This will ensure that movie lovers can remain socially distanced, whether in the theatre or queuing up outside.
Another issue is that several productions, including the latest installment of James Bond, have been delayed amid the pandemic.
To combat this, cinemas could offer a range of classic movies to whet the appetites of film lovers before the summer’s blockbusters are ready.
In a move more suited to some of the films it puts on, Showcase Cinemas said it had invested in an ‘anti-viral fogging machine that eliminates airborne viruses on contact’.
The machine will be used on every seat between showings.
Camping sites and caravan parks were not expected to be reopened on July 4, but Boris Johnson’s announcement means Britons will be able to pitch up their tents this summer.
There will need to be round-the-clock cleaning of facilities with shared blocks thoroughly and regularly cleaned by operators.
The guidance says that businesses should consider ‘introducing a system of staggered entry and booked timeslots for using shower facilities’.
Any communal kitchens will need to be closed where social distancing cannot be maintained.
Indoor children’s play areas will be out of bounds, in line with wider Government guidance.
Places of worship
The lockdown has had a significant impact on worshippers, with Easter and Ramadan and Eid among the religious events affected.
To the delight of many Britons, mass gatherings for prayers will be allowed from July 4, though distance will still have to be maintained.
And couples across the country will rejoice to know that weddings, as well as baptisms, will be allowed again, though guests will be limited to 30, which may cause altogether different issues.
Churches, mosques, synagogues and temples will be required to be regularly cleaned and provide facilities like sanitiser stations.
Singing will also be banned, to stop the potential spread of the virus.
Playgrounds and outdoor gyms
The risk of coronavirus transmission outdoors is thought to be low, paving the way for playgrounds and outdoor gyms to be reopened.
It is welcome news for parents, with many children still off school and will give them an opportunity to socialise.
Gym-goers will also be cheered by the news, though indoor gyms will still remain closed.
Libraries and community centres
Libraries will be reopened, with Cilip, the UK’s library and information, providing guidance for staff and members of the public.
Despite fears that handling books could pass on the virus, the body found that the risk of picking up a book handled by someone infected with Covid-19 is negligible after 24 hours. If covered in plastic, the risk is negligible after 72 hours.
This means books could be ‘quarantined’ after being returned with a delay before they are back on the shelves.
Libraries are also expected to set up appointments and click-and-collect systems to manage football and discourage browsing.
Bingo halls and community centres will also be able to open on July 4, provided social distancing is maintained.