Coventry reacts to relaxing of lockdown measures and opening of businesses

From 4 July, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen – plus tourist attractions including cinemas, museums and theme parks.

Boris Johnson on Tuesday set out further changes to lockdown measures in England to enable people to see more of their friends and family, help businesses get back on their feet and get people back to work.

Most notably, from 4 July, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to the Government’s COVID-19 guidelines.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is a small step as we look to get the economy moving again but we are still some way off where we need to be in terms of building a recovery.

“While the relaxation of the two-metre rule will help more firms increase capacity, we are still a long way from business as usual. Broader efforts to boost business and consumer confidence will still be needed to help firms trade their way out of this crisis.”

From the same date, two households will be able to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures, and people can now enjoy staycations in England with the reopening of accommodation sites.

In order to begin restoring the arts and cultural sector, some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen, if they can do so safely – this includes outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, as well as libraries, social clubs, places of worship and community centres.

Helen Peters, chief executive for Shakespeare’s England, the Destination Management Organisation for South Warwickshire, believes the selected hospitality and tourism reopening could be a last-minute lifeline for many companies.

“However, it does need to be noted that there is a world of difference between the government announcing they are ‘allowed’ to open and many physically being able to do so, especially by 4 July,” she explained.

The Prime Minister also set out that where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’ – this means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission, such as wearing a face covering.

While the infection rate continues to fall, the Prime Minister has been clear that the public must continue to follow social distancing guidelines to keep coronavirus under control.

“Thousands of restaurants, hairdressers, pubs, hotels and campsites will be breathing a huge sigh of relief today,” said Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses.

“We’d encourage everyone to support their local small businesses over the weeks ahead as more and more are able to reopen. This has been an incredibly difficult time, but there is now some light at the end of the tunnel.

“The fourth of July can’t come soon enough.”