When can you eat inside a restaurant? Date restaurants, pubs and cafes open for indoor service in 2021
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People living in Scotland and Wales have seen a partial reopening of hospitality as lockdown restrictions continue to ease amid the Covid pandemic.
Groups of up to four people from two households can order food and non-alcoholic drinks until 8pm inside pubs and restaurants in Scotland from 26 April.
Whereas hospitality in Wales has followed pubs and restaurants in England in offering outdoor hospitality, with people wasting little time to return to their favourite establishments.
Thousands of patrons across England enjoyed a drink or meal outside at pubs, restaurants and cafes for the first time when restrictions were eased on 12 April.
Here’s when pubs, restaurants and cafes can open for indoor service and what rules should be followed.
What are the current hospitality rules?
Prime minister Boris Johnson outlined four key dates when he announced the gradual relaxing of lockdown measures brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Pupils returned to schools on 8 March, the Rule of Six was enforced outside on 29 March and from 12 April hospitality was allowed to reopen for outdoor service.
Some had already been operating a takeaway service but now businesses with outdoor seating are allowed to reopen, offering table service only.
Customers are allowed to drink and dine in groups of six and must maintain social distancing at all times, as well as wear a face covering when going inside to use the bathroom.
Everyone must also check in to the venue via the NHS Covid app or provide contact details with the staff for purposes of track and trace to limit the spread of the virus.
When can pubs and restaurants open for indoor service?
Indoor service can resume from 17 May at the earliest, under step three of the roadmap, which could see patrons drink and dine at a table inside.
All hospitality will continue to be table service only, meaning no orders at the bar, with the number of people per party limited to six people under the Rule of Six.
Social distancing and face masks, unless exempt, must be worn away from the table.
On the same day, the number of people allowed in a group outside increases to 30; six people or two households can meet indoors; and cinemas, hotels and museums reopen.
While, sports venues are allowed a limited number of fans through the gates and theatres can operate with a reduced capacity before it is hoped that all legal limits are lifted on 21 June.
What is the decision dependent on?
Mr Johnson has consistently said he will be guided by “data not dates”, meaning plans might change if there is a change in the Covid situation nationally.
A gradual easing of restrictions, with a five-week gap in between phases, will give the government ample time to assess the situation after each relaxation of rules, the PM said.
The timetable is based on four factors:
- the continued success of the vaccine rollout and flow of supplies
- vaccines continues to have a positive impact in reducing the number of people dying and admitted to hospital with Covid
- infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations, which would put pressure on the NHS
- any variants of concern highlighted do not fundamentally change government's assessment of the risks
What about the rest of the UK?
In Scotland, a partial reopening of indoor hospitality went ahead from 26 April. Groups of up to four people from two households can order food and non-alcoholic drinks until 8pm.
The rules will relax further on 17 May to allow alcohol to be served and pubs and restaurants permitted to stay open until 10.30pm with two-hour time slots.
In Wales, outdoor hospitality is expected to reopen on 26 April, with the hope of indoor service resuming from the Spring Bank Holiday on 31 May.
No dates have yet been set for Northern Ireland’s hospitality to resume inside or outside.