UK prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed that hotels, B&B, holiday parks and campsites could open from 4 July.
Sir Rocco Forte said: “it’s no good just reducing the social distancing rule”, commenting that that the government needed to lift quarantine rules, given the reliance of many hotels on international travellers.
Johnson said from the 4 July, provided that no more than two households stay together, people would be "free to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation, including hotels and bed and breakfasts”. he added that hospitality had a “massive opportunity with all their inventiveness to exploit outdoor space, hitherto unloved space that may become havens and to use their ingenuity to open up in all the ways they can”.
Thomas Dubaere, COO of Accor North Europe, told us: “We wholeheartedly welcome today’s announcement from the government. Our focus throughout this pandemic has been supporting our staff and guests and it is vital that as measures are relaxed, we all continue to play our role in maintaining vigilance.
“To ensure guest safety and provide reassurance, we have introduced an intensified hygiene and prevention programme of measures called AllSafe which is verified in each hotel by external expert auditors. It will clearly take time to return to normal, but each extra step we can take along the way will help the industry rebuild and do what it does best for society and the economy, which is to provide great experiences and help bring people together.”
Carine Bonnejean, managing director of hotels, Christie & Co, added: “It’s great to finally get some certainty around when hotel businesses can resume, this news will have come as a massive relief for the hotel industry, I’m sure.
“This is the best news that could have happened for businesses that rely heavily on trade over the summer period and will have a catalytic effect on everything, as businesses can start to plan properly.
“It will be interesting to see how things reopen, but it will take time for the market to properly recover. The next few months are not going to be easy, it’s going to be a rollercoaster. But now, at least, we are on the rollercoaster and we’re moving.”
UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said: “The government has given due recognition to how hard hospitality has been hit by this crisis. Our sector was one of the first to be seriously affected and we are going to be one of the last to reopen. Getting venues open again, even with social distancing measures in place, is the best way to secures businesses and jobs.
“We know that many people will be keen to get out and support their local pubs, restaurants and coffee shops, and to return to leisure and holiday pursuits.
“While many venues will endeavour to reopen on 4th July, capacities will be constrained by social distancing and some may be unable to trade viably at all, so continued government support will remain crucial. Many businesses have been closed for months with no revenue and are now facing substantial rent and PAYE bills. We need financial help from the government, otherwise some of these businesses are going to go under right at the point at which they are allowed to open once again.”
Operational measures described by Johnson included: reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces, improving ventilation, using protective screens and face coverings, closing non-essential social spaces, providing hand sanitiser and changing shift patterns so that staff work in set teams.