Government announces roadmap taskforces

Five new ministerial-led taskforces have been set up by Government to develop plans for how and when closed sectors in the UK can reopen safely.

Businesses and shops in indoor environments or with closer contact between people, like pubs, hotels and non-essential retail, will likely have a higher risk of transmission, as is the case with many places of worship.

It is the Government’s ambition to open as many of these businesses and public places as possible over the coming months, when the scientific advice provided grants it.

The five new ministerial taskforces will look at the following sectors:

  • Pubs and restaurants
  • Non-essential retail (including salons)
  • Recreation and leisure, including tourism, culture and heritage, libraries, entertainment and sport
  • Places of worship
  • International aviation, reflecting the unique challenges that sector is facing

As part of this science-led approach, each taskforce will work across Government and engage with key stakeholders in public health, industry, trade unions and devolved administrations to:

  • Ensure that Covid-19 secure guidelines are developed in line with the phased approach and public health directions, building on the existing guidance and providing intelligence and sector-specific expert input
  • Agree and ensure alignment of all relevant sectoral guidance
  • Provide key sector stakeholders direct access to Ministers to shape the guidance

One of the new taskforces will specifically look at pubs, bars and restaurants, led by the Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy (BEIS). Its objective will be to get intelligence and expert input from the pub trade to create secure relevant sectoral guidelines in line with public health directions.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) is already working closely with BEIS on the support pubs and brewers need through this crisis, and for reopening.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “We greatly welcome the creation of this taskforce for pubs and restaurants, and will be providing our expertise to help our sector to open as safely and quickly as possible.

“As an organisation that already works closely with the Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy, we look forward to continuing our work with them to ensure the recovery of our sector.

“In contributing to the taskforce, we aim to get pubs on track for reopening as soon as possible. We will be sharing all our intelligence and expertise on the beer and pub sector. We will also provide pubs for pilot testing of new Covid-19 secure guidelines.

“We believe that pubs should only open when safe to do so, but without additional support now – particularly for those who won’t be able to re-open sooner – many more of our nation’s pubs and the brewers that supply them with beer will struggle to survive closure and beyond. We’ll therefore continue to press the Government for the ongoing support our sector needs.”

UKHospitality also welcomes the announcement. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We have been persistent in pointing out that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to reopening businesses, even within the same sector, making such representations last month to Downing Street and the Treasury.

“A great deal of lateral thinking and planning will be required to help businesses open, hence our efforts to draw up protocols and work co-creatively with stakeholders to inform hospitality sub-sectors on how best to prepare venues for safe reopenings. This is for the safety of staff, customers and visitors, and for hospitality to help drive economic recovery.

“It is therefore very welcome to hear that the Government will be listening to our recommendations, to jointly find solutions to reopening.

“We look forward to continuing to engage with the Cabinet Office and alongside members, in playing our part and having a clear message to support the reopening of hospitality businesses when it is safe to do so.”

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