After a year of stop-start opening and restrictions on trade, the first step in a full re-opening of the economy has taken place on Monday 12th April. England has moved into step 2 of the ‘cautious but irreversible’ easing of lockdown, meaning that hospitality can open outdoors alongside non-essential retail, gyms, zoos and beauty services.
For hospitality businesses the rules around ‘track and trace’ have been strengthened with all members of the party needing to check in and details need to be kept for a minimum of 21 days. Hotels are to remain closed until May 17th but those that have self-contained accommodation have been allowed to re-open.
For any venue that is selling alcohol customers will be required to order, consume & pay at the table. Customers are to remain outside at all times unless using the bathroom or paying the bill. Any outdoor covered or ‘roofed’ area must have at least 50% of its walled area open to be used.
Close contact services have re-opened including hairdressers, barbers & spas, with restrictions on customer contact, in-shop waiting areas and music volume throughout the premises alongside urging staff to work in pairs in case of any positive tests. The guidance provided to the sector also encourages business to ‘’consider providing shorter, more basic treatments to keep the time to a minimum."
While the government are moving forwards with the easing of lockdown restrictions the court case to re-open hospitality early led by Sacha Lord, the night time economy advisor for Greater Manchester, has been fast tracked through the High Court and will progress to the next phase on April 19th.
Matt Hancock responded and stated that the Department of Health and Social Care 'opposes the case' and noted: "the Court is asked to refuse the Claimants’ request for expedition and to allow the claim to proceed on the normal timetable for judicial review."