Hospitality Highlights Special 12th May 2020
Prime Minister Gives an Update on Coronavirus to the UK
On the evening of the 10th of May 2020, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave his latest address to the nation to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March the UK, like much of the world, has been under ‘lockdown’, adhering to social distancing measures in an effort to contain and control the spread of the virus. Some expected the Prime Minister to ease social distancing measures while others predicted nothing would change, instead what we got was somewhere in the middle.
Virtual Solutions produce our Hospitality Highlights specifically for those who work in this sector, so with that in mind, we will try to focus this update on the hospitality industry where we can. We plan on producing a much more detailed breakdown of the Prime Ministers statement and the subsequent updates later in the week, but for now here are the important changes:
Social Distancing is Still in Effect
The only change here is more exercise is permitted outside of the home. Family members are now allowed to spend time together in public places like parks, providing they are members of the same household and practice social distancing with others.
Those who are unable to work from home are now encouraged to return to work. However, they must continue to practice social distancing. However, those who can work from home are also encouraged to continue to do so.
Bringing Down The R
The Government has introduced a threat level system to track the rate of COVID-19 infection across the UK. The ‘R’ stands for the reproduction of the virus rate. Level 5 represents the most severe infection rate – and total lockdown, with the infection widely spread across the country. While Level 1 represents a nation free from COVID-19.
Currently, the UK sits at Level 4 and is gradually moving into Level 3 now that the rate of infection in the country has lowered thanks to social distancing measures. The lower the UK manages to get the ‘R’ the more lockdown and social distancing measures can be relaxed.
What Does This Mean Going Forward?
The Government have confirmed that what comes next is purely conditional and will only happen if people continue to practice social distancing, meaning the infection rate drops to acceptable levels by this time.
The current aim is to officially lower the threat to Level 3 by the 1st June. This will mean more restrictions can be relaxed, such as children returning to school. This will be assessed closer to the time, should the virus spike again then the UK will remain in Level 4 and these plans will be delayed.
What This Means for the Hospitality Industry
If the UK is successful in combating the virus enough that we can move to Level 3 in June, then the next milestone will be the 1st July. But no earlier. The Prime Minister has stated that if the UK is able to reach its target then “some parts of the Hospitality” industry could reopen. Quite how many, where, whom and how this will be decided is yet to be confirmed.
It’s important to remember that there is no guarantee the above will come to pass at this stage. It all depends on the success of social distancing measures across the country. Mr Johnson also said if the UK fails to meet these targets “we will try again until we get it right”.
What this does mean though is the hospitality industry now has a target to work towards. What you should and shouldn’t do will be something Virtual Solutions will talk about in more detail soon. We will also discuss what to do if the country doesn’t reach its goal of the 1st July.
What are your thoughts on this new information?