A letter to prime minister Boris Johnson has been signed by 63 Conservative MPs, in which they call for the economy to begin reopening, including a lifting of restrictions for hospitality by Easter and all pupils back in school from 8 March.
The ‘Covid Recovery Group' has called for no legislative restrictions following the vaccination of the top nine vulnerable groups by the end of April. Signatories include Mark Harper and Steve Baker.
The letter said: "Given the current pace of the vaccine rollout, by Easter we will have protected over two-thirds of risk groups 5-9. We would therefore ask you to ensure that pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can open for Easter in a way which enables them to be Covid-secure but also to operate in a commercially viable manner."
It added: "All restrictions remaining after 8 March should be proportionate to the ever-increasing number of people we have protected."
Meanwhile, Deliveroo and 300 restaurant brands have called on the government to extend VAT and business rates relief and for a second Eat Out to Help Out scheme when reopening is possible, and Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has called for pubs to reopen at the same time as non-essential shops.
He said that the pub industry is "on its knees" and that pubs across the UK need to reopen to save jobs and to contribute to the recovery of the economy.
Martin said: "Surely it is possible for the hospitality industry to reopen at the same time as non-essential shops, now that a vaccine exists, on the basis of the social distancing and hygiene regulations, which were agreed with the health authorities, after full consultation, for the 4 July reopening last year. Unless the industry does reopen on that basis, economic mayhem will inevitably follow."
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