Michael Gove's stark warning over the future of pubs

26 May 2020, 14:47 | Updated: 26 May 2020, 14:51

Michael Gove has told LBC businesses will start to reopen soon but it was "going to be more difficult" for pubs, restaurants and bars.

As England starts to ease the coronavirus lockdown, and the Government lays out plans for retail business, LBC's Nick Ferrari asked one Government Minister when pubs were likely to reopen.

The UK has been on lockdown since March 23 with only a limited number of shops able to remain open, and many hospitality businesses have been closed for two months.

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said it was "going to be more difficult" to safely reopen pubs, restaurants and bars.

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But, he said he hoped people "would be able to have outdoor hospitality, so that you can enjoy a drink in the garden of a pub, or that you could eat outdoors in a cafe."

Mr Gove warned if this was to take place then social distancing would need to be maintained.

He said the Government were "exploring how we can do that, in a safe way."

Pubs have been closed since March 23
Pubs have been closed since March 23. Picture: PA

Ahead of businesses reopening, they will have to carry out and pass a risk assessment to identify any activities which may help transmit the virus and limit the spread.

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As well as informing all employees about the assessment's findings, companies with more than 50 employees will be expected to publish the results on their website.

His stark warning was "I think it's going to be very difficult for us to return to any of us standing at the bar, or any of us mingling in a cafe indoors in the way that we have in the past."

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On Monday, Boris Johnson said that car showrooms and outdoor markets will be able to open from June 1 if it is safe for them to do so.

Similar to garden centres, these retailers have been chosen because there is a lower risk of transmission of Covid-19 outdoors and an ability for people to practise social distancing.

All other non-essential retail in England is expected to be allowed to resume from mid-June.

This includes shops selling clothes, shoes, books and electronics as well as specialist outlets such as auction houses, photography studios and tailors.