Tens of thousands of venues to celebrate grand reopening as lockdown measures ease further

Boris Johnson announces further lifting of lockdown rules

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Millions of us will enjoy socialising indoors again as lockdown restrictions ease in line with the Government’s Covid roadmap. Drinks and meals will be allowed inside restaurants and pubs, and up to six people or two households will be able to mix in houses. And staff at the world renowned Ritz have made an extra special effort ahead of the grand reopening. Chefs have been working on the menu and housekeeping staff spent yesterday making sure the rooms in the classic suites were ready for guests.

Specialist waiter, chef de rang Giacomo Monti was also seen checking all ­dining areas.

The London hotel shut its doors in the middle of December but will roll out the red carpet again for guests in less than 48 hours.

It is not alone – the British Beer and Pub Association estimates three million pints will be downed on Monday.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said the countdown “to freedom and recovery is on”.

She added: “After some questionable weather during the past week or so, we know Brits are looking forward to being back inside the pub once more.

“Our pubs have been preparing for this Monday over the past couple of months. This is by no means the end of the crisis for our sector.

“We need pubs fully reopened without any restrictions at all on June 21 if they are to survive and trade viably.”

Despite rolling out the barrel, she warned first-day beer sales were set to be 65 percent lower than a normal Monday before the pandemic. That’s equivalent to 1.6 million fewer pints.

Emma said this is because 2,000 pubs will remain closed.

Inns that do open are limited in their sales by table service as no standing drinkers are allowed. Social distancing also reduces capacity.

The hospitality sector has been able to serve outdoors since last month but one of the coldest springs on record has stunted demand.

Diners are expected to flock to their favourite restaurants, with bookings up 46 percent for next week compared to April 12 when hospitality reopened for outdoor service.

Bed and breakfasts can also welcome guests again from Monday, meaning small group trips will be an option for some.Up to six people – or two households – will be able to
meet indoors.

Indoor museums, galleries, theatres and other attractions are also reopening with social distancing in place.

And cinemas, theatres and bingo halls are coming out of hibernation too following months of closures.

Some cinemas have staggered film start and finish times to reduce crowding in the foyer.

The rule of 30 at funerals will be dropped, with venues assessing how many mourners can fit in indoor and outdoor spaces. Again, social distancing remains.

So too does the limit of 30 people at weddings and other types of significant events, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

The ban on overseas holidays will lift for green list countries, such as Portugal and Gibraltar.

And for those sticking to Britain, overnight stays will be allowed.

Other signs of liberation include an end to face masks in secondary school classrooms and university students returning to in-person teaching. Care home residents will be able to have five visitors and more opportunities to go out with no need to self-isolate when they return. People can also hug friends and relatives from Monday although Boris Johnson asked they take into account their “vulnerability and how many vaccines they have had”.

Coronavirus data will be monitored for the four weeks following Monday’s ­easing.

A decision will then be taken as to whether the final step out of lockdown can be taken as planned on June 21.

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