Pubs and restaurants 'to be allowed to serve outdoors from April'

12 February 2021, 22:11 | Updated: 12 February 2021, 22:16

Pubs may be allowed to reopen in April, reports have claimed
Pubs may be allowed to reopen in April, reports have claimed. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Pubs and restaurants will be permitted to serve people outdoors from April if Covid-19 cases continue to fall, it has been reported.

People in England have been long-awaiting the reopening of the hospitality sector, after the Government was forced to close it to deal with the rapidly growing Covid-19 cases.

But as rates have fallen across the country, it has sparked hoped the ailing sector could be given a much-needed boost - and mean thirsty Brits can once again attend their favourite watering holes.

A source told The Sun: “We will hopefully be sipping pints in the spring sunshine sooner rather than later.”

The nation was delivered a saving grace on Friday after it was revealed the UK's Covid-19 R number has dropped below 1 for the first time since July and now stands between 0.7 and 0.9.

People may be allowed to have a pint outdoors in the Spring
People may be allowed to have a pint outdoors in the Spring. Picture: PA

An R number between 0.7 and 0.9 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will pass on the virus to between seven and nine other people, which suggests the pandemic is shrinking.

This is a drop from last week when the R number stood between 0.7 and 1, according to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

Read more: PM to lay out roadmap for easing lockdown over coming months on 22 February

Read more: UK economy fell by 9.9% in 2020 - largest annual slump on record

Latest figures also show that the number of new Covid infections is shrinking by between 2 per cent to 5 per cent every day, with the growth rate being between -2 and -5.

The Department for Health said in a statement: "We are confident the epidemic is shrinking across all NHS England regions.

"However, prevalence of the virus remains high, so it remains important that everyone continues to stay at home in order to keep the R value down, protect the NHS and help save lives."

It was also confirmed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lay out the roadmap out of lockdown, with the hopes it will be the last the nation has to endure.

The plan to ease the coronavirus lockdown in England will be set out in 10 days after some Tory MPs expressed concern that the timetable may have slipped back further.

A No10 spokesman said: "On 22 February, we will set out a gradual and phased approach towards easing the restrictions in a sustainable way."

Concerns of a delay among Tory lockdown-sceptics were raised on Thursday when the prime minister's official spokesman said: "We've been clear we will publish the road map on the week of the 22nd."

On Friday, the No10 spokesman did not rule out that one option being considered is social distancing being maintained until the autumn.