The High Court recently ruled in favour of the Government in response to a case brought by Punch Taverns founder Hugh Osmond and the Night-Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, Sasha Lord. This means indoor dining will not be permitted earlier than the 17 May 2021 deadline outlined in the Government’s Roadmap.
Under the steps outlined in the Government’s Roadmap on 22 February 2021, pubs and restaurants were allowed to reopen outdoors on 12 April 2021, along with non-essential retail.
Mr Osmond and Mr Lord sought to object to the Government’s Roadmap by way of a judicial review challenging the lawfulness of this decision. Given the urgency, the case was expedited for a hearing. They argued there was no justification and/or scientific basis for hospitality to be kept closed for a further 5 weeks, after retailers were permitted to serve customers indoors from 12 April 2021. The case followed a previous challenge brought against the Government by Mr Lord in respect of the ‘Table Meal Exemption’.
The High Court ruled in favour of the Government saying that Covid-19 justifies a precautionary and cautious approach. This means that pubs and restaurants will only be able to open for indoor dining from 17 May 2021 providing the Government’s ‘Four Tests’ are satisfied. The Prime Minister has confirmed there are currently no signs to indicate a deviation from the 17 May 2021 date. Given this date is now less than 2 weeks away, any changes seem unlikely.
In addition to indoor dining:
— Indoor entertainment such as soft play, cinemas and bowling centres can reopen.
— Organised indoor adult sport can restart.
— 30 people can meet outdoors including in private gardens.
— Indoor meetings can take place (including overnight stays) pursuant to the Rule of 6 or no more than two households meet.
— All hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfasts can reopen.
— 30 people can attend weddings and plans have been announced to remove the 30-person limit to attend funerals from this date.
More details about when and how international travel will restart in England are expected this week.
You can read our recent series on ‘Getting hospitality businesses ready for reopening’ here.
If you would like help getting ready to reopen your indoor hospitality business, hotel or other accommodation for 17 May 2021, please get in touch with Head of Regulatory, Kathryn Gilbertson, who is renowned for her legal advise and practical tips for the hospitality sector.