After more than three months closed due to the pandemic, non-essential businesses will be able to lift their blinds for the first time this Monday in England, and pubs and restaurants will once again serve their customers outdoors.
Hairdressers, gyms, clothing stores and other indoor establishments have been closed since last January 6, when the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, decreed a strict confinement to stop a wave of coronavirus infections that at its maximum peak produced more than 80,000 cases daily.
The Rapid advancement of vaccination in the UK and severe restrictions have led to a slump in the incidence of virus in recent weeks. The number of people hospitalized with covid-19 in the United Kingdom as a whole has fallen to 2,862, compared to almost 40,000 in January.
The reopening of the pubs, which was anticipated as an occasion for celebration, has nevertheless been conditioned by the official mourning for the death of Prince Felipe, which will last until next Sunday.
Johnson planned to summon the media for his first pint of beer in a pub in several months, but he has canceled that event and is not expected to make a statement outside of the parliamentary session that will be dedicated to paying tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh.
Since the Government confirmed the date to reopen the hotel business, pubs and restaurants with terraces began to receive reservations for their tables abroad. Customers who have not secured a chair in advance will hardly find a place for them in the coming days in many establishments.
“We feel lucky with all the reservations we already have, practically everything is reserved for the first week,” Sunee McKelvey, manager of The Cuckoo N1 pub, in north London, told EFE.
“One of the fundamental pillars of British society is the pub, the place where people and the community come together, “said McKelvey, highlighting Monday’s reopening as an” extremely important “step for hospitality.
Returning to the bars and restaurants, although for the moment the interior of the premises will not be enabled, offers citizens the “hope that we are almost at the end of this”, emphasizes the manager of the pub.
The British Brewers and Pubs Association has warned for its part that only 40% of English establishments have sufficient outdoor space as for them to consider it profitable to reopen before May 17, when the Government hopes to lift restrictions on indoor hospitality.
Extended business hours
A special regulation will allow from this Monday that shops are open until 10 at night (local time), three hours after the usual closing, to try to avoid transport crowds at peak times.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) estimates that the industry as a whole has stopped earning 30 billion pounds (34,500 euros) in sales since the pandemic began, although it hopes that the reopening of physical stores will begin to reverse that. stage.
“During confinement, savings have increased. Economic recovery depends on retailers being able to unblock pent-up demand, “said the organization’s chief executive, Helen Dickinson.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.