Ministers ‘aiming to get restaurants back open two weeks earlier than planned’

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Restaurants and pubs could be given the green light to reopen two weeks earlier than expected in a bid to prevent widespread job losses across the sector.

The hospitality industry has been working towards 4 July as the date when it can open again, but a Financial Times report last night claimed ministers are hatching a plan to bring that forward to 22 June for operators that can serve customers outdoors.

They think the move could save jobs that would be at risk if the hospitality sector misses out on the lucrative summer season.

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According to the FT, chancellor Rishi Sunak is among half a dozen ministers calling themselves the “save summer six” that are seeking to accelerate the reopening of the economy.

Downing Street said no date had been set for the reopening of beer gardens, terraces and marquees, but three senior Whitehall officials claimed the target date was June 22.

Housing and local government secretary, Robert Jenrick, is said to be reviewing planning rules to make it easier for pubs and bars to use outdoor areas.

Cabinet office minister Michael Gove, transport secretary Grant Shapps, and culture secretary Oliver Dowden are also among those involved in the “save summer” project.

The plan will be discussed by the cabinet will discuss the plan on Tuesday.

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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