Pubs and restaurants should be open by Easter, insists Tory MP Steve Baker

15 February 2021, 09:55 | Updated: 15 February 2021, 10:26

By Fiona Jones

Pubs and restaurants should be open by Easter, insists Tory MP Steve Baker, calling for this lockdown to be the last.

His comments come as ministers are to begin reviewing lockdown measures with more than 15 million people across the UK received their first dose of a vaccine.

Boris Johnson is holding a press conference later today where he is set to address this "significant milestone" in the fight against the disease.

Tory MP and deputy chair of the Covid Recovery Group Steve Baker told LBC he is calling for this to be the last lockdown: "The timetable is intimately connected to the vaccination rollout."

"We now know that we're hitting the top four groups... so that means that when they're protected from 8 March the onus is on ministers then to really justify restrictions that remain in place to show that they're proportionate to the harm that Covid can then do.

"When we get to Easter, we'll have vaccinated two-thirds of groups one to nine, that includes people under the age of 50 who are vulnerable. For hospitality, Easter's a very big deal...so we're saying at Easter, venues, pubs, restaurants, hospitality should be open in a Covid-secure way."

He referred to the measures in place when venues were open in the summer, such as mask wearing for leaving your seat and screens between tables.

Mr Baker continued that the Government is promising to vaccinate groups 1-9 by 1 May so "we think all legislative restrictions should come off then."

"If ministers want to keep restrictions in place the onus is to justify restrictions at that point," he said.