The PM revealed his roadmap out of lockdown yesterday. It brought a glimmer of hope to hospitality – but a faint one. Outdoor venues could reopen on April 12th, with restaurants, pubs and bars not due to get the green light for indoor sales until 17th May. At the earliest.
We asked a few of our members what they made of the pace and direction of Boris’ ‘one way’ journey back to normality.
‘What the government never seem to have grasped is that the inside of a pub or restaurant is a safer environment than the inside of someone’s house. Providing a limited amount of outside space in the pouring rain in April for people to go out for a drink or meal will not be enough to stop a large section of the public socialising in each other’s houses. These will be younger people, not yet vaccinated. If they were in a clean and safe, socially distanced hospitality environment they’d be less likely to catch or transmit the virus and the economy would be better off. Surely a win/win. Having said all of this, Boris’ ‘roadmap’ is exactly what we were expecting. Caution is good, but please apply simple logic.’
Charlie Young, Vinoteca
‘I can’t believe that hospitality is bringing up the rear again. What problem does this government have with our industry? It is safer to dine out (following all the measure in place) than to go to a corner shop! Someone pinch me so I wake up please.’
Jan Konetzki, Director of Wine, Ten Trinity Square Four Seasons Hotel and Private Club
‘I thought we came out of lockdown too soon last time, so I am happy with the plan they’ve come up with. The hard bit, however, is not not finding the road but reaching the destination.’
Stefan Neumann, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
‘In Scotland, it appears that if all goes well, hospitality venues may look forward to re-opening by the end of April. BUT Level 3 restrictions may apply, which means no alcohol and significant travel restrictions. In my humble opinion, as long as social distancing is properly respected, then table service of wine and all other alcoholic drinks should be permitted to enable a return to the true fine dining experience.’
James Payne, Douneside House
‘I’m all for a slow easing back if it means we don’t have to do this ever again. But hospitality has definitely been vilified here and there will be irreversible damage to our sector. More help is still needed. I’m just glad I don’t own a nightclub.’