Coronavirus: UK hospitality sector wants two-metre distancing rule to be revised

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The UK government should halve the two-metre social distancing rule if businesses in the hospitality industry are to survive when they reopen, trade organisations have said.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and UK Hospitality fear that venues such as pubs and restaurants will not be able to make enough money as the regulation reduces the number of patrons they can host at one time.

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “It must be recognised that no two pubs are the same and for many, ensuring a distance of two metres will be impossible, keeping them closed for much longer.

“Actioning advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for example to use one metre for social distancing from July would enable many more pubs to viably reopen.”

UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “At two metres you are receiving 30% of your normal revenues, at one metre it gets up to 70% – so it is the difference between success and failure for many of those businesses.”

READ MORE: UK government to unveil rules for workplaces after lockdown

BBPA also tweeted that “At least three weeks notice needs to be given to brewers on when exactly pubs will re-open. This is needed to brew fresh beer and get it into pubs ready for re-opening.”

Hospitality firms are still waiting for more clarity on when they can welcome customers through their doors, but the Government said restaurants and pubs will be able to open on 4 July at the very earliest.

Earlier, Wagamama said the restaurant chain is preparing for a “new normal” in customer habits as it revealed its first ever collection service for customers.

Emma Woods, the dining chain’s chief executive said not all sites will be able to reopen under current two-metre social distancing guidelines, with a small number of restaurants “too small” for current guidance.

READ MORE: Public pledge to spend £3.8bn on hospitality when lockdown lifts