The Government has launched a taskforce to plan how pubs and restaurants can safely reopen.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is to lead a new ministerial-led taskforce for pubs and restaurants that will develop plans on how and when the sector can reopen safely.

The Cabinet Office said: “Businesses and shops in indoor environments or with closer contact between people, like pubs, hotels and non-essential retail, will likely have a higher risk of transmission, as is the case with many places of worship.

“It is the Government’s ambition to open as many of these other businesses and public places as possible over the coming months, when the scientific advice provided allows us to.”

The Cabinet Office said the taskforce would work across Government and engage with key stakeholders in the leisure industry.

The establishment of the task force was welcomed by CAMRA.

The Campaign’s national chairman Nik Antona said CAMRA welcomes the announcement of a taskforce to help pubs re-open and operate safely within social distancing guidelines.

Nik said: “Pubs are a key part of our social fabric and it is vital that people can safely support them when they re-open so that they can weather the difficult weeks and months ahead.

“It’s clear that some types of pubs won’t be able to open and operate successfully with social distancing measures, and we want the Government to pay particular attention to how they can support those pubs to ensure their future survival.

“Pubs will require ongoing financial support both during lockdown and after restrictions lift, and we look forward to working with the taskforce to ensure clarity and support is outlined in every step of the process.”

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) is working closely with BEIS on the support pubs and brewers need through this crisis, and for re-opening.

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “In contributing to the taskforce we aim to get pubs on track for reopening as soon as possible. We will be sharing all our intelligence and expertise on the beer and pub sector. We will also provide pubs for pilot testing of new COVID-19 secure guidelines.”

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