The UK government will be relaxing the lockdown rules further from July 4, 2020, though with continued restrictions in place including social distancing.
The new rules will affect English hotels, bed and breakfasts, pubs and restaurants, as well as theatres, cinemas and galleries.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said that in the case of restaurants, indoor service would be table service only, and interactions between guests and staff should be kept to a minimum.
The relaxation is still nearly two weeks away, and government sources warned that the situation could change once again if there was new evidence of new infections,
Hotel chains are already welcoming the announcement, and we will be detailing their reactions below.
Stephen Cassidy, Managing Director, UK and Ireland, Hilton, said: “We are looking forward to opening our hotels and welcoming back guests. We know that expectations will be different, with cleanliness and hygiene more important than ever. To ensure our guests have peace of mind and confidence, we will be implementing Hilton CleanStay – an industry-leading programme which will give guests an even cleaner and safer stay, across all of our 150 hotels in the UK.”
Thomas Dubaere, COO of Accor North Europe said:
“We wholeheartedly welcome today’s announcement from the Government. Our focus throughout this pandemic has been supporting our staff and guests and it is vital that as measures are relaxed, we all continue to play our role in maintaining vigilance. To ensure guest safety and provide reassurance, we have introduced an intensified hygiene and prevention programme of measures called Allsafe which is verified in each hotel by external expert auditors. It will clearly take time to return to normal, but each extra step we can take along the way will help the industry rebuild and do what it does best for society and the economy, which is to provide great experiences and help bring people together.”
Sir Rocco Forte welcomed some of the Government’s measures, but criticised the decision to keep the rule which requires visitors from other countries or people returning to the UK from abroad to quarantine for 14 days at home.
“Some of these moves go in the right direction, but the Government needs to lift the quarantine rules which everybody agrees are completely unnecessary and ridiculous,’ he said. ‘It’s no good just reducing the social distancing rule from two metres to one metre – that won’t help businesses which rely on international travellers because they simply won’t be coming here. It leaves many unable to open their UK hotels because it is just not economically viable.”
‘We are stopping people from coming to this country and saying that the UK is closed for business. These rules need to be lifted straight away. I also cannot see the sense in creating bureaucracy for pubs and restaurants by requiring them to take the names and addresses of people coming onto their premises. That is completely and utterly unnecessary and is going to make it difficult for them to operate efficiently if at all.”
“People who are going to go out once lockdown is eased are people who have accepted the risks involved. People who have underlying health conditions and risk factors are simply not going to go to crowded places anyway.”
“The Government needs to allow the country to get back to business rather than creating a whole lot of unnecessary bureaucracy.’”
Jane Pendlebury, the CEO of Hospa, said that,
“Having a definite opening date means hospitality can finally see a way forward – with the relaxation of the social distancing rule a huge relief for hoteliers and others in the industry.”
“Of course, safety is paramount and our priority is opening safely, for both guests and staff, but this offers the industry, if not exactly an open door to a return, then certainly a workable margin. No doubt there’ll be muted celebrations in hotels all around the country as we look to start moving forward again.”
Joss Croft, CEO, UKinbound commented, “Today’s announcement that pubs, restaurants, hotels and attractions can officially open on the 4th July will come as a huge relief to businesses across the tourism and hospitality industry, who have earned very little revenue since the beginning of March. Reducing social distancing from two metres to one will also ensure that many more businesses will be able to viably reopen at the start of next month.”