Prime minister confirms 12 April outdoor hospitality reopening

05 April 2021 by
Prime minister confirms 12 April outdoor hospitality reopening

Prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed this afternoon that outdoor hospitality will be able to reopen in England next Monday (12 April).

The second step of the government's roadmap to reopening will also see the reopening of non-essential shops and personal care services such as hairdressers.

Johnson said: "We see nothing in the present data that makes us think we will have to deviate from that roadmap. But it's by being cautious, by monitoring the data at every stage and following the rules… that we hope together to make this roadmap to freedom irreversible."

Indoor hospitality including hotels is due to reopen in the next stage of reopening on 17 May.

The government also published updates on its reviews into Covid status certification, the return of events, international travel and social distancing. A programme of pilot events in the coming months will include 4,000 people attending the FA Cup semi-final in Wembley on 18 April, an indoor business event of 1,000 people in Liverpool on 28 April and 3,000 people attending an indoor club night in Liverpool on 30 April. Covid status certification will also be trialled as part of the pilots, initially through testing alone, with later pilots incorporating data on vaccination and acquired immunity.

The update on Covid status certification said that Covid status certification "is likely to become a feature of our lives until the threat from the pandemic recedes" and confirmed businesses are able to ask customers for proof of Covid status in order to access their premises, as long as they are compliant with equalities legislation.

It said vaccine passports "could potentially play a role in settings such as theatres, nightclubs, and mass events such as festivals or sports events to help manage risks where large numbers of people are brought together in close proximity".

It also said they could play a role in reducing social distancing requirements, for example in hospitality settings. However, the government said it recognised the potential implications for businesses and customers and said this will be considered in consultation with the industry as part of the review of social distancing rules.

However, Johnson added: "There is absolutely no question of people being asked to produce certification of Covid status when they go to the shops or to the pub garden or to the hairdressers on Monday. We're not planning that for step three either [17 May]… there are complicated ethical and practical issues raised by the idea of Covid status certification… you've got to be very careful with this and don't start a system that is discriminatory."

The update on international travel said it was "still too soon to know what is possible" and current restrictions on travel abroad are not expected to change before 17 May.

When non-essential international travel does return it will do so with a risk-based "traffic light" system, adding a new 'green' with no isolation requirement on return to the UK - although pre-departure and post-arrival tests would still be needed. The Global Travel Taskforce will publish its report, setting out more details on this system, later this week.

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