In a bid to save summer for the UK citizens, the ‘save the summer six’ – a group of ministers including Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, are working to reopen pubs in England from the 22nd June rather than the proposed date of 4th July. This will enable pubs and restaurants to open outdoor seating areas, provided they perform social distancing and adhere to COVID-19 health and safety rules. The group of ministers also including Michael Gove, Grant Shapps, Oliver Dowden and Alok Sharma, are hoping to save around 3.5 million jobs within the hospitality sector.
With the use of beer gardens, terraces, and marquees; it will enable pubs and restaurants to cater to customers in a safe, social distanced environment. It has been reported that Robert Jenrick is looking to review planning rules which will allow pubs and bars to open and potentially extend outdoor areas in order to house more customers.
In a poll we performed it showed that 58% of people in Lytham and St Anne’s would not visit a pub or restaurant despite the outdoor and social distancing measures that would be put in place. Although locals are gasping for a beer or a coffee at a bar, or a chat with a friendly local bartender, it seems only 42% of the public think it is worth the risk – some stating that rather than risking catching the virus they would prefer to relax in their garden at home.
If the pubs, bars and restaurants we miss so dearly are able to open their doors after 15 weeks of closure on 4th July, however, they will only be allowed to open at 20-30% capacity at most in order to adhere to social distancing rules of 2 metre separation. However, it has been reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has suggested cutting the social distancing rule to 1 metre – this would enable businesses to run at an increased 60% revenue.
Locals are encouraging each other to support local businesses including restaurants such as Spago, Zest and El Uno by using their takeaway services. With limited seating areas, will these restaurants be able to open to the public and still make profit, or are Lytham locals looking at a long summer in our own back gardens?