Hope for pubs as Boris Johnson says hospitality industry could reopen quicker than predicted

BORIS Johnson sparked hopes the nation could be enjoying pints in pubs and restaurant grub in weeks tonight – as he said the hospitality industry could reopen quicker than expected.

At the moment the nation's boozers and eateries are not meant to begin to reopen until at least July under the Government's roadmap.

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But the PM said this evening to MPs on the Liaison Committee: "On hospitality…we are really trying to go as fast as we can.

"It is really difficult to bring forward hospitality measures in a way that involves social distancing.

"But I am much more optimistic about that than I was. We may be able to do things faster than I previously thought."

The news will bring a smile to the nation who face another month without being able to return to the pub.

Boris' roadmap says that step two – which is set to start within days – will not include the hospitality sector.

"All other sectors that are currently closed, including hospitality and personal care, are not able to re-open at this point because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher.

"The opening of such sectors is likely to take place in phases during step three."

That will be no sooner than July 4.

Elsewhere in the committee, the PM:

  • Revealed test and trace would start across England tomorrow – and anyone who has contact with a positive case will be told to self-isolate
  • Admitted the nation was unprepared for the virus and failed to learn the lessons of SARS and MERS like other countries did
  • Defended Dominic Cummings again from fuming MPs – and told them the nation wanted to focus on fighting coronavirus

His words came as he revealed that the Government is aiming to reduce the two-metre social distancing rule to help pubs and shops reopen soon.

He said he hoped once the virus rates go down "we will be able to reduce that distance" and get bars up and running again.

He said: "[There is a] considerable reduction in risk at that distance, compared to a smaller gap.

"My own hope is that as we make progress in getting the virus down… we will be able to reduce that distance which I think will be particularly valuable on (public) transport and in the hospitality sector.

"Their answer is that that is what they feel is the right interval for us. We rely and have done throughout on the guidance we get from our advisers and that is what they think is appropriate at the moment but… that may evolve."


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