Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
The Government has confirmed when restaurants will reopen after revealing its plan to lift the UK out of lockdown.
Here, we look at what the new roadmap means for hospitality and when we can all look forward to a meal out again.
It might not be imminent, but the end is definitely in sight. Here’s everything you need to know about when restaurants are reopening.
Brits are hoping restaurants will reopen sooner rather than later (Credit: Pexels)
When will restaurants reopen?
As per the latest Government advice, it now looks as though restaurants will be reopening in April. If all goes according to plan, Boris Johnson predicts that we will be able to get back to normal completely by the end of June. However, there are several key dates to keep track of.
The first is April 12, by which point the Government plans to allow pubs and restaurants to reopen outdoors. This means that friends and family will be allowed to meet in beer gardens and there will be no requirement to eat while drinking.
On May 17, according to the suggested timeline, pubs and restaurants will be allowed to open for indoor dining. However, there will still be a two household/rule of six law in effect.
Finally, the Government hopes that the final restrictions will lift on June 21, meaning that the sector can return to normal.
Obviously, much of this is contingent on Covid cases continuing to fall. Nonetheless, the news is a welcome relief to an industry that has been hit incredibly hard by the pandemic.
Boris Johnson answers questions from journalists about the new roadmap (Credit: PA))
Are there precautions to take while eating in a restaurant during the COVID-19 pandemic?
There is very little evidence to suggest that COVID can be transmitted through the handling of food and drink.
However, experts agree that the biggest risk to restaurant customers is dining in an enclosed, poorly ventilated space. Since COVID is a respiratory illness, experts agree that effective ventilation is an extremely effective measure against infection.
Typical advice includes washing your hands thoroughly with hot water and soap, as well as wearing a mask indoors. Some experts have also suggested avoiding eating with your hands as that may increase the risk of infection.
By and large, takeaways are extremely safe (Credit: Pexels)
How safe are takeaways?
In lieu of restaurants remaining shut until the near future, many people have turned to takeaways to get their good food fix.
However, with all the confusion about the pandemic, many are understandably uncertain just how safe their delivery might be.
Fortunately, Government guidance confirms that there is very little risk of infection from takeaway food itself. According to the government website, “it is very unlikely that coronavirus is transmitted through food.”
The website also adds that “cooking thoroughly will kill the virus.” This puts most takeaway meals in the clear.
In fact, the biggest risk associated with takeaways is contact between customers and delivery drivers, or in the restaurant itself if you collect the order in person.
As the government website explains:
“It is safe to have takeaway food delivered if the business you order from follows the Government’s safety guidance.
“Staff preparing your food should regularly wash their hands and maintain good hygiene practices in food preparation and handling areas.
“You should minimise the chance of coronavirus spreading by maintaining a distance of 2m when the food is delivered.”
Whenever there is person to person contact, it’s impossible to totally eliminate risk. However, following these guidelines does make infection extremely unlikely.