The government has set up a ministerial-led taskforce to plan for how and when pubs and restaurants can safely reopen, after the prime minister announced earlier this week that some hospitality businesses could start to reopen from 4 July.
The taskforce will be led by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and will ensure that Covid-19 Secure guidelines are developed in line with the phased approach and public health directions, agree and ensure alignment of all relevant sectoral guidance and provide key sector stakeholders direct access to ministers to shape the guidance. Hospitality-specific Covid-19 Secure guidelines for reopening are set to be published in the coming weeks.
UKHospitality welcomed the announcement, and chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "We have been persistent in pointing out that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to reopening businesses, even within the same sector, making such representations last month to Downing Street and the Treasury.
"A great deal of lateral thinking and planning will be required to help businesses open, hence our efforts to draw up protocols and work co-creatively with stakeholders to inform hospitality sub-sectors on how best to prepare venues for safe reopenings. This is for the safety of staff, customers and visitors, and for hospitality to help drive economic recovery.
"It is therefore very welcome to hear that the government will be listening to our recommendations, to jointly find solutions to reopening. We look forward to continuing to engage with the Cabinet Office and alongside members, in playing our part and having a clear message to support the reopening of hospitality businesses when it is safe to do so."
Earlier this week, the trade body said it would be publishing a series of protocols aimed at supporting the safe reopening of hospitality venues, including protocols tailored to individual sub-sectors, covering: accommodation, coffee shops, food service management, holiday parks, late night, pubs, quick-service restaurants and visitor attractions. It is hoped that they will inform the government's own plans.