Initially planned for 21st June, Freedom Day is now likely to go ahead on Monday 19th July. The final decision on whether to proceed will be taken next Monday (12th July), but we will keep everything crossed that it goes ahead as planned.
What does this mean for the hospitality industry then?
Masks will become voluntary in all settings, including shops, hospitality venues and public transport. We’re still being advised to exercise ‘personal judgement’ and we’re sure that some venues will still ‘ask’ patrons to wear a mask when entering and exiting the premises. We’ve heard of small venues who are planning on keeping this rule in place and they’re being run with only a few members of staff and if one of them had to self-isolate, it could cause the business to close.
All businesses that are still closed, including nightclubs, will now be able to reopen as normal; in other words, with no restrictions on the amount of people that can enter.
Mass events, such as music festivals, can restart and there will be no limit on the number of people at weddings and funerals too. There will be no requirement to scan a QR code when entering a venue and customers in pubs will now be able to walk to the bar and be served there.
These restrictions have been especially tough on the hospitality industry but generally speaking, everyone has complied with the Governments regulations. The lifting of these restrictions will enable staffing levels to return to how they were pre-pandemic and allow capacity levels to get back to a point where businesses can begin to make a profit again. Restrictions on the number of guests allowed in venues with social distancing measures in place, and with the increased staffing costs for table service, have been a real burden on the industry.
Brighter times are ahead and we cannot wait to enjoy what we possibly all took for granted previously, eating and drinking with friends and family, in beautiful restaurant, bars and hotels across the country.