Pubs may be able to open in July with social distancing, says minister

Environment Secretary George Eustice has said pubs could "tentatively" begin to reopen in July - as long as they could space out customers.

Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 1:30 pm

Mr Eustice told the Commons that the Government was "already working with the hospitality and pub sector to identify what social distancing measures they might be able to put in place to make that work properly".

His comments during Commons environment questions came as Tory David Johnston said pubs operating as takeaways "is not a substitute for being open properly".

Mr Eustice said: "Of course we also recognise that until things return to something closer to normal and they can open normally, hopefully later this summer, then it will not give them all of the trade they previously had."

Pubs could be reopening sooner than originally thought.

He added: "As the Prime Minister has outlined, we intend that the hospitality sector including pubs would be able to tentatively start gradually opening hopefully during the month of July – subject to the epidemiology supporting such a move.

"And of course we are already working with the hospitality and pub sector to identify what social distancing measures they might be able to put in place to make that work properly."

The PM's roadmap states that pub openings will be on the cards in phase three of the lockdown easing plan, but it will be likely it will only include pubs with outdoor spaces or enough room so that groups can be kept apart.