Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove has said he is hopeful that people will be able to enjoy "outdoor hospitality" from mid-June but admitted that it was going to be "very, very difficult" with pubs, restaurants and bars.
Speaking on LBC Radio on Tuesday, Gove anticipated that people would be able to enjoy "outdoor hospitality" post-lockdown as part of the government's proposed "step-by-step" return to normality.
He said: "We can begin to take cautious steps to make sure that life returns to something like normal.
"One part of that is from 1 June we will start to be opening retail outlets, making sure that where it's easy to maintain social distancing, such as outdoor markets, and opening up more widely from 15 June. "
However he expressed doubt about returning to normality with pubs, restaurants and bars, saying it was going to be "very, very difficult for us to return to us standing at a bar or any of us mingling in a café indoors in the way that we have in the past."
"It's going to be more difficult with pubs, restaurants and bars, in full. What I hope we may be able to see is people being able to have outdoor hospitality so that you can enjoy in a drink in the garden of a pub or that you could eat outdoors in a café but again we need to maintain social distancing and we're exploring how we can do that in a safe way."
As for the UK economy and people's wellbeing, he said it would be "helpful to get people back to work… leading purposeful lives" and that it was "human nature" that people would be keen to do so, saying: "I think all of us would rather be at work than not."
Two weeks ago the government confirmed its "ambition" to open some hospitality businesses from 4 July if its five tests for controlling the spread of Covid-19 are being met.