Restrictions not fully lifted until at least 19 July
Boris Johnson has announced that so-called "Freedom Day" has been delayed by four weeks.
Mr Johnson said: "As we have always known this opening up has inevitably been accompanied by more infection and more hospitalisation."
"We must learn to live with it."
I am confident we will not need any more than four weeks
It is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after two weeks in case the risks have reduced. The Government will continue to monitor the data and the move to Step 4 will be confirmed one week in advance.
England was due to move to Step 4 of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown on 21 June, when venues and events would be allowed to operate without capacity limits and the cap on guests at weddings would be lifted.
Now, some theatrical performances and sports events pilots will still go ahead and weddings and funerals may go ahead if social distancing is in place.
A limited series of pilot events will take place to produce additional evidence on reopening events safely. Attendees will need to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test.
This will include some UEFA EURO 2020 matches at Wembley and a small number of other sports, arts and music performances. The full list of pilots, and further details about the events, will be announced shortly.
Hospitality has been the hardest hit during the crisis, losing more than £87bn in sales and leaving many businesses crippled by debt. In current circumstances, takings remain down 42% on what could have been expected. It has been predicted that a four-week delay to restrictions lifting will cost the sector around £3 billion in sales.
Before tonight's announcement, HospitalityUK CEO Kate Nicholls said: “Businesses need a swift, publicly-stated commitment that such support will be in place in the event of any delays, giving them much-needed reassurance after more than 15 months of closure and severely disrupted trading. Hospitality is desperate to get back to what it does best and can play a key role in the economic recovery of the UK - but only if it is given permission to trade and proper support.”
I've had endless calls and messages from operators in the last 24hrs.
Fearful, anxious, at their wits end.
These "leaks" and "rumours" from the Government, are just despicable.
The toll on peoples mental health is at tipping point.
— Sacha Lord (@Sacha_Lord) June 12, 2021
There has been much criticism of the lack of preparation time for businesses and unclear communication from the Government.
Manchester night-time economy advisor Sacha Lord said: "One in four hospitality business are still shut.. Up until about four days ago the Prime Minister himself was saying he saw nothing in the data so businesses have been gearing up to reopen on the 21st. They've been ordering stock, they've been bringing staff off furlough. And then to leak something for the last three days... that is not the way to govern, that is not leadership."
Mr Lord has repeatedly called on the Government to allow hospitality to reopen fully as soon as possible.
So, a four week delay. Fair enough to err on the side of caution after previous recklessness, but there must be consequences for those responsible for the explosion of the Delta variant which has made this necessary, and further support for the people and businesses now affected.
— Thom Hetherington (@ThomHetheringto) June 14, 2021
The Night Time Industries Association commented that the delay to the roadmap is "devastating" and will "drive confidence in the sector to a new low".
Michael Kill, chief executive of NTIA, said: "This is a hugely devastating blow for the very industries that have been hardest hit by this pandemic; in a very real sense, the Prime Minister has 'switched the lights off' for an entire sector.
"Many businesses have not survived this pandemic and others are on a financial cliff-edge, unable to operate viably. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have already been lost, a huge pool of creative talent has been swept away, and we have been left to suffer extreme financial hardship.
"This delay will drive confidence in the sector to a new low, culminating in more of our workforce being forced to leave the industry, and customers, who have been starved of social engagement, attending illegal unregulated events in place of businesses that are well-operated, licensed and regulated."
This is wrong. If you are extending the restrictions, you should extend business support, particularly for those most affected. Simple as that. https://t.co/n2Yf4Bl0Sz
— Andy Burnham (@AndyBurnhamGM) June 14, 2021
Support for hospitality
Much of the support that is keeping many businesses alive is due to run out soon. For example, rent and debt moratoria run out on 1 July and the Government has not yet said that these will be extended. Without these guarantees, many businesses will not be able to continue.
David Fox of Tampopo told Confidentials: "Hospitality employs nearly 3 million people; a lot of whom the education system hasn't worked for. We provide a really important route to long-term employment and equip them with life skills they can use within hospitality or any other sector. Those people have been in limbo for a year. What we need is sustained long term support."
Sacha Lord said in a tweet: "Today, the Chancellor MUST come out and agree to extend the support package for Hospitality. If he doesn’t, he will be responsible for many more businesses closing and job losses, across the whole of the UK."
The furlough scheme - which pays 80% of employees' wages - was extended until the end of September in the hope that many jobs could be retained. Businesses will start to contribute towards furlough as they reopen, starting with 10% in July, then 20% in August and September.
The 5% reduced rate of VAT was be extended for six months to 30 September.
Well, we may not be able to dance around our tables for an extra four weeks now, but everything else remains the same, with the usual world class street food, drink and table service available every day and night down the Hatch 🙌
It’s frustrating, but the end is still in sight! pic.twitter.com/7pteS554KE
— Hatch (@Hatch_MCR) June 14, 2021
Mr Johnson did however sound a note of optimism regarding the new date: "As things stand – and on the basis of the evidence I can see right now – I am confident we will not need any more than four weeks and we won’t need to go beyond July 19. It is unmistakably clear the vaccines are working and the sheer scale of the vaccine roll-out has made our position incomparably better than in previous waves."
Follow Lucy Tomlinson on Twitter @hotcupoftea
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There will be a four-week pause at Step 3. Step 3 restrictions remain in place, and you should follow the guidance on what you can and cannot do. It is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after 2 weeks in case the risks have reduced.
You can socialise indoors in a group of up to 6 people or 2 households, including for overnight stays. Up to 30 people can meet outside. Pubs, theatres and other venues can open indoors. Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can open for people on holiday. Read the guidance on what you can do.