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Boris Johnson Confirms What Lifting COVID-19 Restrictions Means for Restaurants and Pubs

Social distancing and the rule of six will be removed on 19 July, if the “roadmap” is followed

Staff in masks at Ombra in Hackney, east London, on Saturday evening, the first day of reopening for restaurants after the coronavirus lockdown in England Michaël Protin

Lifting COVID-19 restrictions on 19 July will include the removal of social distancing and table service requirements in restaurants, pubs, and bars. Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the changes in coronavirus measures in a news conference, 5 July, with chief scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer professor Chris Whitty.

All businesses will reopen and all legal limits on social contact will be removed, along with the one-metre-plus rule which has limited restaurant and pub capacity alongside the rule of six, which will also be removed.

While legal requirements for face coverings will be removed, guidance will include advising wearing them in “public places where you mix with people you don’t know,” including public transport and other crowded venues. Businesses will also be able to use NHS Test and Trace to record customer details, as restaurants and pubs are legally obliged to do currently, but it will no longer be obligatory, while self-isolation for those testing positive or in close contact with someone testing positive will continue.

Johnson’s moderate language and focus on guidance, especially on masks, stood in some contrast to headlines proclaiming the likes of freedom from face covering tyranny. Here are what the changes mean for restaurants:

  • Social distancing will be removed, meaning restaurants can again open at full capacity.
  • The rule of six will be removed for indoor dining.
  • Pubs and cafes that might rely on bar seating no longer have to adhere to table service.
  • Customers will no longer have to sign in using the NHS COVID-19 app, but businesses can continue to use it as they wish.

More soon on what the lifting of restrictions will mean for restaurants on 12 July, when whether or not they will be lifted on 19 July is confirmed.