All the rules that will be in place when bars & restaurants reopen

Bars and restaurants across England are due to reopen in the coming months, but what rules will be in place when they do?

Boris Johnson shared his roadmap out of lockdown with the public this week, including the earliest dates we can expect to see the hospitality industry reopen.

The Prime Minister also shared the four steps England is due to take in order to end lockdown, which includes a phased reopening for bars and restaurants.

No earlier than April 12, bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen, but for outdoor service only.

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The question for many is, what rules will be in place when this happens?

We’ve taken a look at the Government’s roadmap and laid out the rules below.

Can you just meet people for a drink and are you allowed inside to order?

The new Government guidelines state that hospitality venues can serve people outdoors only, and this time around people can just meet for a drink.

The rules state: “There will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcohol, and no curfew – although customers must order, eat and drink while seated.”

That means venues must offer table service and propping up at the bar is off limits for a while longer.

Will social distancing rules still be in place?

According to the latest guidance, businesses reopening “must abide by the social contact rules”, meaning social distancing will still be in place.

It also states: “The Government will continue to enforce restrictions and require businesses to demonstrate robust strategies for managing the risk of transmission and to ensure social distancing rules are followed.

“Local authorities and the police will continue to provide support and advice to newly reopened settings, enabling them to operate safely. Where businesses do not follow the rules, the appropriate enforcement action will be taken”.

You meet friends outdoors from April 12. Pictured: Free State Kitchen on Maryland Street
(Image: Kate Hughes)

How many people can you meet?

Step two, which is due to start on April 12 and will come no less than five weeks after step one, will see the rules change to allow the Rule of Six to return.

This means up to six people, or two households, can meet outdoors.

Where can you meet?

‘Outdoors’ refers to private gardens and any other outdoor space.

This includes beer gardens, cafes or restaurants with outdoor seating spaces, and hospitality areas in venues like zoos and theme parks, which are also due to reopen at this time.

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When can we eat and drink inside again?

Pubs, bars and restaurants are expected to reopen fully from no earlier than May 17. However, these dates are subject to change depending on the data meeting England’s “four tests”.

The four tests for easing measures include the success of the vaccine roll out, evidence of vaccine efficacy, new variants and infection rates, which will be assessed by ministers before proceeding to the next step.

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