Americans won't be the only ones celebrating this 4th of July.
Sighs of relief could be heard throughout England after last week’s announcement that pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen this coming weekend. People all over the country will be emerging from their homes for the first time since March and ready to dine out and get reacquainted with the pub life they’ve been missing all these months, or at least a version of it. The 4th of July, the date that signifies American Independence across the pond, will take on a whole new meaning for residents of the UK and become the date of lockdown liberation.
Bar and restaurant folks are rapidly implementing solutions that are crucial to keeping customers and staff safe including additional outdoor seating, plastic partitions and spacing of at least 1-metre. Following suit with several other countries that have already taken great strides toward normalcy, it will be required to collect and maintain records of customer contact details for a minimum of 21 days. NHS Test and Trace will request this information should the need arise due to possible exposure to the virus. The announcement brought about confusion due to the lack of clarity on how to best to implement a solution to this new requirement. (psst...evePASS might be exactly what you’re looking for and it’s completely free!)
In addition to all of the operational changes, bar and restaurant staff are going to have their hands full with patrons this weekend. As such, there are additional limitations placed on the number of households and individuals that will be allowed to go out and enjoy a pint together (2 and 6 respectively). Many places have also indicated that they will be limiting the amount of time each party is allowed to occupy a table. Despite all of these precautions, it will be up to pub goers to abide by the guidelines and drink responsibly.
Elsewhere in the UK and even parts of England for that matter, the scene this weekend will be entirely different. Earlier this week a complete lockdown for the city of Leicester was announced as the number of Coronavirus cases began to rise. The return to lockdown means that all non-essential shops are closed, children are back at home and restaurants and pubs in the city will not be opening along with the rest of the country. Residents of this area are also encouraged to limit travel within and outside of the city to reduce the possibility of exposure.
However, citizens of London rest assured! Rumblings of local lockdowns in several boroughs have been debunked by the corresponding Councils. The common theme amongst statements was the expectation of a rise in cases as reopening continues and the emphasis on individuals to adhere to guidelines and remain vigilant.
Scotland has issued their own set of guidelines which indicates that most establishments, including restaurants, pubs, beauty salons and vacation rentals, will be allowed to reopen on the 15th of July. Venus with outdoor seating are allowed to start serving a few days earlier on the 6th. Restaurants and pubs in Wales are set to reopen outdoor spaces beginning on the 13th of July with no date in place for the interior. Northern Ireland on the other hand will be opening a day earlier than England on the 3rd.
Regardless of reopening dates, one thing is clear. Contact tracing is a key component in stoping the spread of COVID-19 and it will be up to owners and staff to implement solutions that encourage guests to follow guidelines and keep everyone safe.