The Handbook
The Handbook

We’re now nine days from the end of Lockdown 2.0 and calls on the government to reveal their plan for next week are getting louder and more inpatient. Will we emerge from lockdown, crowd onto the tube to head out clubbing? Or will we be locked up at home again in something not called lockdown but that totally is lockdown? Maybe put your raving shoes back in their box.

The government will lay out their plans over the next few days, but because Whitehall leaks like a sieve we already know quite a few details, and let’s put it this way… Lockdown ends in tiers.

When Boris announced the tier system what seems like an eon ago, there were three tiers with tightening levels of lockdown depending on coronavirus transmission in each area. Boris is set today to announce that the tiers are coming back, with the details of the regional approach being explained in full on Thursday.

Boris is set today to announce that the tiers are coming back...

It looks increasingly like ‘non essential’ retail (who are you to tell me that ¬†unicorn pyjamas aren’t essential anyway?) will be back open, desperately trying to scrabble back some of that Christmas season trade that’s been interrupted.

However, hospitality may be set for a less rosy outlook...

Meanwhile gyms are also set to reopen in all tiers, signalling double joy for anyone who insists on exercising in their unicorn pyjamas.

However, hospitality may be set for a less rosy outlook.

If the rumours are true then the plan, which the Cabinet signed off on last night, will see most areas of the country returned to tier two and three. Which will mean that hospitality will, once again, be limited.

Hospitality will, once again, be curtailed...

As well as a continued ban on indoor socialising (a ban that is expected to stretch until the spring) restaurants are likely to be restricted. In higher tier areas, as before, restaurants will only be allowed to sell takeaway but in tier two its reported that alcohol will only be available to serve along with a proper meal.

Meanwhile hotels are expected to be open again and should be able to operate as usual, albeit with social distancing.

Restaurants will be watching this week’s announcements carefully and with bated breath. But of course the real relief, the end of the crisis, is slowly starting to loom. The only question is: can restaurants last it out?

With Pfizer’s vaccine being touted to received the UK regulator’s thumbs up this week, it’s possible that actual vaccinations could start within a week. Meanwhile the AstraZeneca vaccine has been proved to be upto 90% effective and is far easier to transport and store. All great news that should see Britain COVID-free by Easter, but it’s still going to be a slog for hospitality, with effects unlikely to see the sector for years.

Meanwhile, let’s all cross fingers and toes for hospitality. The the infection rate in London seems to be falling and while the capital has 199 cases per 100,000 plenty of up-Northern areas are still struggling with rates twice as high. So there is real hope for London.

Another sunny focus is that the 10pm curfew is said to be being retired, meaning that the carnage outside venues each evening won’t be on.

Let’s see what they announce today…

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