‘A chance of survival’ – East Midlands hospitality sector reacts to lockdown easing

Baresca, Nottingham

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has further relaxed lockdown rules.

In an speech to the House of Commons, Johnson said that now is the time to reduce the “toughest restrictions in peacetime history”.

As a result of a downgrading of the threat, the PM confirmed the rules will change from 4 July. The first change is a reduction in social distancing. The currant two metre rule is still suggested, however where this it not feasible it is reduced to one metre.

This news was accompanied by an announcement that the hospitality and leisure businesses on the whole will be able to reopen, including hotels, camp sites, restaurants and bars.

Johnson, however, said that all internal hospitality will need to follow certain measures including being limited to table service. Venues will also be required to collect contact details of patrons.

Jon Perkins of the Perkins Family group of restaurants, which include Baresca in Nottingham city centre, Escbeche in West Bridgford and Perkins Carriage at Plumtree, said: “We are extremely excited to finally hear confirmation that pubs and restaurants will be allowed to re-open on 4 July.

“Planning without any clear guidance over the past few months has been very difficult. We are hugely relieved that the two metre social distance rule has been relaxed and although our restaurant capacities remain significantly impacted, at least there is now a chance of survival over the months ahead.

“We can’t wait to get the doors open to welcome our friends and regulars once again!”

Paul Hurst, owner of The Old Bell Hotel in Sadler Gate, Derby, confirmed that parts of the historic venue would re-open on July 4.

“We are opening the outside areas, the front bar and the Great Ballroom to ensure we can adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“This will be much easier now that it has been reduced to one metre although our focus will be on ensuring the safety of customers and staff alike.”

Hurst praised the Cathedral Quarter BID for supporting businesses throughout lockdown.

He added: “The whole BID team have done a sterling job – none more so than since non-essential retail has been allowed to reopen.

“We all feel a lot more optimistic now that we have seen how both businesses and the public have responded to the relaxations from June 15.”