'We are planning in the dark': UK hotels, pubs and restaurants urge clarity over July 4 restart

Lake Windermere
Businesses all over Cumbria, including Lake Windermere, are still awaiting news on when they can officially reopen Credit: Stephen Knowles Photography/Stephen Knowles Photography
 in Wiltshire, explained what the process has been like so far: "We are planning in the dark for an unconfirmed date." Many small business owners like herself are hoping to reopen their doors soon, but it is impossible to plan when there are no guidelines to follow. Will they have to wash curtains between stays? Will all soft furnishings need to be removed? Will they need to leave rooms empty for a period of time in between guest stays? None of these questions have been answered yet.

Another small business owner, Robert Smith, also took to social media to share his worries. He said: “A real sense that hospitality bosses are reaching the end of their patience with Boris Johson & Gov lack of a date & guidance for reopening. Oakman Inns making a statement. As a small operator with my livelihood at risk I may well follow suit & be damned.”

The aforementioned , a pub company with restaurants and hotels in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Essex and more, has announced that they will open all pubs on July 4, challenging Boris Johnson to tell them otherwise. Chief Operating Officer Dermot King said in a statement: “We will be opening on July 4, despite the lack of clarity given to the hospitality sector by the Government. We cannot wait any longer and won’t change our plans unless the Prime Minister intervenes.” 

三级成人视频He added, “The operational challenges of restarting a business are complex. We need to plan three weeks out to arrange supplies of, in our case, fresh food and cask ales. While the rules on furlough allow us to complete training, we cannot prepare menus - and that requires time. Unless the Government performs another policy U-turn, we need to invest in that time now.” King also noted photographs that have been circulating the media that show the two-metre rule is not being respected in queues outside shops and on board planes after both sectors returned to work this week, asking Number 10 to accelerate the release of their review into the possibility of reducing the guidance for social distancing.

Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, Sacha Lord, has also taken things into his own hands. He decided to run a discussion with a panel of experts to help local businesses get ready to reopen. He said, “Greater Manchester can no longer sit and wait for long overdue Government guidelines on reopening. [...]  We need to be getting ready.”

This is not a new issue. Back in May, Bill Haslam, CEO of holiday resort in Cornwall, was already telling Telegraph Travel三级成人视频 that it was the ambiguity of the situation that was paralysing so many business owners. He hoped there would be more information coming soon: “There was a real lack of clarity during the close-down process that caused a lot of problems. We’re all trying to second-guess what’s going to happen, and I appreciate that the virus is a moving target for the Government, but we need clarity and guidance – as the restrictions are lifted, definition will be key.” It’s nearly eight weeks on from when he first said that, and very little has been defined since then.

It is thought that the delay in Downing Street’s confirmation of the July 4 date is due to a last-minute review concerning the two-metre social distancing rule, and whether it is possible to reduce it to allow more businesses to open and operate in a profitable manner. It is likely many hospitality bosses will be much happier if the distance is reduced, but if the government doesn't make a decision soon, some won't be ready to open regardless. Time really is of the essence.