Hospitality businesses such as bars, pubs and restaurants will be among the last outlets to reopen after lockdown restrictions are lifted, it has been claimed by a senior minister.
Michael Gove, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and minister for the Cabinet Office, told The Andrew Marr Show that other sorts of businesses would open ahead of places to eat and socialise.
Asked when pubs and restaurants would be operating again, Mr Gove said: “The other inference that I draw from your question, which is that areas of hospitality will be among the last to exit the lockdown – yes, that is true, they will be among the last.”
His comments come at a time when several major operators have reopened some outlets again.
Last week, Pret A Manger, KFC and Burger King all opened a handful of stores around the country to serve takeaway orders and provide food for NHS workers.
However, operators such as The Restaurant Group, which owns Wagamama, have said they don’t expect to be able to open sites until the end of June at the earliest, possibly even July.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab confirmed last week that the government has extended the lockdown restrictions for at least another three weeks.
He said: “The worst thing that we could do now is ease up too soon – and allow a second peak of the virus to hit the NHS and to hit the British people.”
Mr Raab said there were five key points that had to be satisfied before the government would ease restrictions.
– Confidence that the NHS can still provide sufficient critical care and specialist treatment across the UK.
– A sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rate to ensure the UK is beyond the peak.
– Reliable data from SAGE that the infection rate has decreased to manageable levels.
-Testing capacity and PPE is in hand to meet supply for future demand.
– Not risk a second peak of infection that overwhelms the NHS.