On May 10 the UK Government announced its phased plan for lifting lockdown but unfortunately hospitality businesses have had to remain closed for the time being, as they do not lend themselves well to social distancing rules. Hospitality businesses are permitted to open once the UK has reached ‘phase three’ of its lockdown process.
The UK reached phase three last week, it was announced, meaning hotels could reopen soon.
The ‘Our Plan to Rebuild’ dossier lists the businesses and ventures which could not immediately reopen, and have been forced to stay closed for the time being.
These include holiday accommodation, specifically hotels, hostels, B&Bs, holiday rentals, campsites and boarding houses.
There have been some exceptions to this rule, including allowing key workers to stay in hotels and non-UK residents who had found themselves unable to return home.
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The document states: “Some venues which are, by design, crowded and where it may prove difficult to enact distancing may still not be able to re-open safely at this point, or may be able to open safely in part.”
Businesses, like non essential retail which has already been permitted to open, will have to meet ‘COVID-secure’ guidelines.
These guidelines enforce social distancing as a rule and uphold standards of cleanliness and working patterns for staff.
Has a date been set for hotels reopening?
No. The Government is yet to advise on when hotels can officially reopen their doors to tourists.
The earliest they could open is July 4, when it is expected that at least some of the hospitality sector will reopen.
One major change could be a relaxation of the two-metre rule, once the results of a review are announced this Tuesday by Boris Johnson.
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The Prime Minister is expected to announce more easings of lockdown rules for England only, including potential for pubs and restaurants to reopen as soon as July 4.
This will also mean that overnight stays outside of your household will be finally be permitted, meaning domestic holidays will be allowed once more.
Many hotels are preparing to reopen on this date even with the absence of an official green light from the Government.
Scotland and Wales have not yet signalled their own dates for lifting the lockdown on the hospitality sector.
Research from the Good Hotel Guide found that 75 percent of hospitality businesses are gearing up and ready to begin operating from the beginning of July.
Even when hotels do reopen, they will be considerably different from how they did before.
Chains such as InterContinental and RIU have already committed to big changes, and they are likely to be similar across all chains and independent hotels.
Lifts will likely be operating a one-way system, with only so many people allowed in at once, and guests could have to carry their own bags to their rooms to avoid unnecessary contact.
Inside hotel rooms, non-essential items such as magazines and minibars could be removed.
Cleaning regimes will, of course, be ramped up, with a focus on high touchpoints such as light switches, taps and door handles.
Eating and entertainment will also be approached differently. Buffet breakfasts are likely to become a thing of the past, with preordered meals via phone or an app likely to become the norm.
Check-in and dinner times will also possibly be staggered, to stop any unnecessary congregations.
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