by Mo Metcalf Fisher

The Countryside Alliance has been campaigning for the safe reopening of pubs, cafes, restaurants, campsites and caravan parks as part of it’s focus on helping rural businesses get through the Summer, at this critical time. As such, we welcome today's announcement from the Prime Minister -that from July 4th- pubs, restaurants, hotels, campsites and caravan parks can reopen.

From July 4th, members of two different households will be able to eat, drink or dine together in England as long as they stick to physical-distancing guidelines. The Prime Minister confirmed the 2-metre rule will be dropped in favour of a “1-metre-plus” approach. While we await the details, we would like to make clear that this is absolutely a step in the right direction and will be music to the ears of rural and coastal businesses up and down the country.

On Pubs:

Sarah Lee of the Countryside Alliance said: “ We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement and like the rest of the nation cannot wait to get to our local to see off a drink in celebration. It was clear from many publicans that reopening while maintaining 2m social distancing on site would prove incredibly difficult. Among their significant contribution to the economy, pubs are a crucial player in the fight against beating social isolation. As ever, the devil will be in the detail and pubs will be working round the clock to ensure their customers  & staff are safe.”  

Tourism:

Sarah Lee of the Countryside Alliance said “ Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on UK hospitality and tourism. The Prime Minister’s announcement today is incredibly welcome as it offers people the chance to enjoy a holiday in our beautiful countryside and coastal beauty spots, giving a much needed boost to fragile local businesses. Now all focus must be on ensuring local authorities encourage tourism and desist from using anti-tourism rhetoric, which only harms local businesses.”

Pubs in the UK look likely to be opened up on ‘Super Saturday’ 4th July which will be welcome news for many publicans and thirsty customers alike. The hospitality sector has been hit hard during this pandemic and this news will give the rural economy a much-needed boost.

Research undertaken by the Alliance shows that many publicans are keen to open but the greenlight to open must come with clarity and clear guidance from the government. Too many people are relying on the news to understand what the changes in lockdown regulations mean for them. 

60% of publicans also told us that they were planning for an early July opening but concerns about the 2m social distanced guidance would make trading difficult without a relaxation in planning rules to make it easier to extend pub gardens onto private land.

Many publicans who took part in our research told us they are suffering from increased anxiety triggered by the uncertainty, with many fearing a sudden announcement could catch them off guard and plunge them into further financial difficulty.

The Camping and Caravanning Club has already reported that camping and caravan sites have already missed out on £25 million of income during the Covid lockdown period.

There are currently no further guidance updates for either Scotland or Wales, with both government's confirming the 2m guidance remains under constant review.

 

 

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