Will there be fireworks on July 4th?
4th July is usually synonymous with Independence Day in the United States; family gatherings, parties and fireworks. However, in England it has taken on a new significance. On Tuesday 23 July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out further changes to lockdown measures in England, enabling hospitality businesses to get back on their feet. This is all set to kick off on Saturday 4th July – provided that these businesses adhere to government guidelines, not least regarding social distancing.
In a sense we will experience some sort of independence, being granted the freedom to have socially distanced meet-ups at the pub and restaurants, and finally make that much-needed appointment at the hairdressers. It certainly seems like we’re returning to life as we know it. Though with new restrictions in place, we must ask ourselves, what exactly does the short term hold for businesses in the hospitality sector?
Joss Croft, chief executive of UKinbound said: “Although these measures are very much to be welcomed, government needs to recognise that while some businesses will hopefully be able to re-coup a small proportion of their losses over the much shorter summer season, many businesses, especially those that rely wholly or mostly on inbound tourism, will have gone through the equivalent of ‘three winters’ and will need further financial support if they are to survive and continue to drive jobs and growth across the UK.”
Everything about this pandemic has been unprecedented so it’s difficult to predict how much business pubs and restaurants will bring in with the consideration of social distancing guidelines. There are of course a number of factors favouring the return to growth for the hospitality sector; the warm weather, staycation tourists and the eagerness of customers to get back to some remanence of a normal life after months of lockdown.
Though the fact remains that we have not beaten this virus yet. With more freedom being granted to us it already seems that some people are taking it to the extreme. Health Secretary, Matt Hancock warned the government could close beaches if there is a rise in coronavirus cases after half a million people filled the beaches of Bournemouth this week, prompting the local council to declare a major incident.
Will there be fireworks to celebrate the safe reopening of pubs and restaurants, or will there be chaos similar to that which we have witnessed on our shores? We must have confidence that businesses are doing all they can to create safe places for the public – and hope that the public uses these spaces responsibly so that we can avoid a second wave and make it on this road of recovery.
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