Is Opening Outdoors A Viable Option This April?
With measures finally in place to bring lockdown to an end, and reopening times written in the diary, things are looking up for the hospitality sector.
In case you missed it, there are four key dates that guide the UK’s route out of lockdown:
- 29th March: The ‘rule of six’ will return. Groups of more than six people from a maximum of two households can meet.
- 12th April: Pubs and restaurants can serve customers outdoors.
- 17th May: Pubs and restaurants can serve customers indoors. The rule of six (or two households) will be lifted, but outdoor gatherings of 30+ people remain illegal.
- 21st June: All lockdown restrictions lifted and nightclubs allowed to reopen.
Even though UK pubs and restaurants can serve customers outdoors from next month, this doesn’t take into account the 60% of pubs that don’t have suitable outside space to occupy their customers. And that’s not the only concern. Poor weather conditions mean we could see a drop in the number of visitors, which would inevitably delay any recovery – after all, it’s not called April showers for nothing!
Here, we consider if it’s worth opening outdoors next month and discuss what that could mean for organisations in the industry.
Consequences of Outdoor Opening
With businesses still unable to operate at full capacity due to social distancing restrictions, many who previously worked in the hospitality industry have now transitioned into retail roles. Not only has this created an uncertain job market, but companies are now unsure if they have enough staff to reopen safely this April.
While the government has announced additional support for the hospitality sector, this hasn’t been enough to save jobs or prevent some business closures. What’s more, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association Emma McClarkin believes that by opening outdoors only, the sector could experience a £1.5 billion loss of turnover when compared to normal times.
The Good News
That being said, there are things to look forward to when the industry finally reopens. Businesses will be given greater flexibility to provide more outdoor space for their customers. This means that pubs and restaurants without dedicated beer gardens will be able to set up seating areas outside their premises without planning permission — allowing more customers to dine outdoors.
Of course, there’s always the risk of bad weather. But by investing in things like parasols, marquees and outdoor heating, you’ll be able to open in April as well as the colder winter months too.
How Harri can help restaurants reopen successfully
With plans to finally ease lockdown measures in just a few days, there’s never been a better time to prepare your business for reopening. As it happens, our technology can help you do just that.
Harri will assist you with everything from hiring and onboarding new employees, saving you time and assisting you with getting the right talent onboard; to scheduling and training your staff prior to reopening. The tools will assist you in managing your operational costs in order to get back to pre-covid levels as quickly as possible. We’ll even help you reduce business expenses by automating the entire payroll process, so you can reopen with confidence this spring. Of course, that isn’t all our technology is capable of…
Want to learn more about Harri? Head to our homepage and request a free demo. Our team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.