Pubs could take over whole streets and fields to make massive beer gardens for post-lockdown socially distanced drinking

PUBS and restaurants could be allowed to use main high streets and farmlands to be able to open larger beer gardens and terraces for social distancing.

The proposals were suggested by Tourism Alliance Director Kurt Janson following the government announcement that the tourism industry coud restart by July 1.

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Bars and restaurants could open by the proposed date, dependent on the ability to allow customers to safely social distance.

Mr Janson warned that the opening of establishments should be done case by case, due to the difference in size and capacity.

He told Sun Online Travel: "At the moment, if you wanted to extend your cafe outside onto the pavement, you have to go through the planning process to do it which takes time.

"The urgency of the situation should let shops look at having outdoor seating areas – which is a permitted development – meaning you can just do it.

"Or you could change planning rules to shut down streets in the evenings."

He also explained how pubs in less-populated areas could reopen: "Pubs could open back onto fields, especially in rural areas, and use farmer's fields to increase the footfall.

"If you're operating a country pub with a large beer garden, there must be ways to open them, such as a hatch opening to serve a garden bar."

Sweden is just one of the countries which has introduced the use of streets for cafes and restaurants, but Mr Janson warned that it was "too early" to see how well it had worked.

Dublin is also considering using pedestrianised streets for cafes and restaurants to open, along with Lithuania.

Until then, he said looking at models to introduce into the UK is needed ahead of July to ensure the tourism season can return in time for summer.

However, he warned that cities face a tougher time re-opening.

He said: "Rural areas – where there is natural self-distancing anyway – can open to tourism a lot more quickly than urban areas.

"In the city, they may not be able to open pubs and restaurants for some time due to social distancing rules.

"You have public transport, attractions, accommodation, pubs and restaurants – it is hard to restart a whole area unless all of them are open.

"Why would you come to London, if nothing is open and you can't eat at a restaurant?"

Summer holidays abroad are off the cards according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and the British tourism industry faces a difficult summer if some semblance of normality cannot be resumed by July.

With more than 80 per cent of hospitality staff furloughed, Mr Janson said that just three months of tourism could result in the closure of otherwise "safe" businesses.

He added: "If we open up fully on July 1, then we have about three months to salvage the 2020 season which will be difficult and will depend on the appetite on the public, which we're not so sure about.

"With only three months to get a years worth of income, local businesses are going to struggle, and may see a get a wave of failures and redundancies."

Cornwall's tourism boss has warned of timed breakfast and lunch slots, a cap on the number of beach visitors and shorter hotel stays when holidaymakers return to the region.

Malcom Bell says tourists can expect a "different kind of holiday" in the UK when they visit Cornwall once the lockdown is over.

He told Sun Online Travel: "Buffets you will see disappear, doors will be left open so people don't touch handles, social distancing markers will be seen."


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