Shropshire Star

Lockdown lifting could mean staycation boom

Many pubs and restaurants are also set to open on July 4.

The beach

Lockdown is set to lift further across England this weekend and seaside destinations could find themselves booming as people look to staycations for their summer holidays.

Overnight stays in England will be allowed from Saturday as part of the widest-ranging lifting of measures since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

As pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels are permitted to welcome guests for the first time in almost three months and the two-metre rule is relaxed to one-metre plus, establishments in Plymouth and on the Isle of Wight in particular could find themselves benefiting as those areas feature on a list of locations where the tourism sector is likely to recover quickest.

New research from Colliers International has revealed that the hotel sector in Plymouth is expected to recover at a faster rate than any other in the UK, with Blackpool and Cornwall also featuring.

Although traditional tourist hotspots like London, Oxford and Cambridge could be hit by the lack of foreign visitors, more uncommon destinations such as Hull, Norwich and Derby also feature on the list of the top 10 places best-placed to see a recovery in their hotel and tourism sectors.

As well as people now being able to join friends for dinner at their house, eateries will be permitted to open for sit-down business for the first time since mid-March. However, not all businesses will be ready to welcome customers by Saturday.

High-street noodle chain Wagamama will only open one of its outlets on Saturday at Royal Festival Hall in central London, before opening a further three two days later, in Stevenage, Swindon and Manchester’s Trafford Centre.

It hopes to have 18 outlets open by the end of July, with the remainder following in August and September.

Coronavirus – Wed Jul 01, 2020
Protective screens will be used in Wetherspoons (Yui Mok/PA)

Emma Woods, chief executive of the chain, told the PA news agency it is “really excited” to see customers return to its restaurants after more than three months away.

She added: “We’ve been constantly talking to our guests to get ready to open, but it will just be fantastic to see them coming back into restaurants.”

Pub gardens could be a write-off as wet weather is set to feature across the country.

Showers will move across England throughout Saturday according to the Met Office and could be heavy at points in the middle of the day.

A spokesman from JD Wetherspoon, which plans to reopen all 750 of its venues on Saturday, said: “The weather is out of our control, but our pubs tend to be three times larger than others so we are not worried about people being inside our venues.

“We can’t predict what the weather will be like in England, but we have faith that our customers and staff will be as safe as possible.”

Measures will not be lifted in Leicester as the East Midlands city continues under its own local lockdown rules and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer warned that “there are now real fears of further local lockdowns across the country”.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

According to Public Health England, the worst affected regions (with at least 45 cases per 100,000 people in the week to June 21) are Leicester, Barnsley, Bradford and Rochdale.

There are six areas in the next worst affected category (30-44.9 cases per 100,000), which are Bedford, Blackburn with Darwen, Tameside, Oldham, Kirklees and Rotherham.