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Tourism and hospitality is opening up. What can I expect?

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With the full reopening of pubs and restaurants, and an option to ease social distancing among family and friends, many will be planning a holiday this half term holiday.

Holiday providers in the south west are planning for a busier than normal period, particularly over July and August, so June and September months are perhaps less-busy times to plan breaks for.  You will however need to book in advance and think about booking tables to eat out as many restaurants will have reduced capacity in place to prevent the spread of infection.

If you’re heading out into the countryside:

  • please always keep to the countryside code.
  • park with consideration and please don’t block the road for others – it’s especially dangerous if emergency vehicles can’t get through
  • dog owners, please keep your dogs under control, and pick up after them
  • any rubbish, please take it home and recycle or dispose of it properly
  • and barbeques, please take them home with you once you’re done.  Don’t leave smouldering disposable ones on the ground because they can cause fire, injure wildlife and harm people if not disposed of properly.

We love Devon, and with your help we can keep its beauty spots flawless, and wildlife and people safe!

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions:

When can we go on holiday in England?

The government has issued a roadmap out of lockdown, which relaxes restrictions in steps. The latest step, step three, further eases restrictions in the accommodation sector, and people are now able to holiday, within England, in hotels, hostels and B&Bs. This is in addition to the opening of self-contained accommodation that was previously announced on 12 April. Within England, people will also be able to have overnight stays with other households.

International travel, and holidays abroad, are able to safely resume to limited countries, which are identified in a traffic light system. People will be able to holiday in countries, designated by the government as green, without needing to quarantine on their return to England. To help prevent the new COVID-19 variant from entering the UK, people are advised to avoid travelling to amber or red list countries.

What sorts of accommodation can reopen?

All sectors of the accommodation sector can now reopen, including self-contained premises, hotels, hostels and B&Bs.

Will I need to book?

Yes, booking your holiday in the South West will be essential this summer. Space will be limited so booking and planning ahead will mean that you are not disappointed. Once you have secured your accommodation, it is also advisable to plan where you might want to visit, eat and travel to before you get there.

How does the government define self-contained accommodation?

This is defined as accommodation that does not require the shared use of bathing, entry/exit, catering or sleeping facilities.

How many people can go on holiday together?

From 17 May, the rule of six will apply to domestic holidays, which means that people can holiday in a group of six from different households, or a larger group from a maximum of two households.

Is camping allowed?

Self-contained accommodation is now allowed to open. This means accommodation that does not require the shared use of bathing, entry/exit, catering or sleeping facilities.

When can holiday attractions reopen?

Outdoor hospitality, zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas and drive-in performance events reopened on the 12 April.

Following the easing of restrictions on 17 May outdoor attractions, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas can also reopen.

In addition, indoor attractions such as museums, cinemas and children’s play areas, water parks and stately homes are now also able to reopen.

When can tourist businesses serve food and drink outdoors?

Hospitality venues are now allowed to open for indoor and outdoor service. Customers must order, eat and drink while seated if at a licensed establishment (table service). This is limited to either six people, or two households indoors or if outdoors, in a group of no more than 30.

Will customers have to order a “substantial meal” to be served with alcoholic drinks?

It is now possible to order alcoholic drinks without a meal.

Will there be a curfew?

There is no longer a curfew in hospitality venues.

What will be the social distancing rules at tourist businesses?

All newly reopened businesses must stick to social contact rules. The government will continue to enforce restrictions and require businesses to be COVID – secure and ensure social distancing rules are followed.

When can food and drink be served indoors?

From 17 May businesses will be permitted to serve food and drink indoors. There will be no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcoholic drinks, and no curfew.

What are the limits on crowds at large events?

Some larger events can go ahead but with limits on capacity. These will include conferences, theatre and concert performances and sports events. The government says controlled indoor events of up to 1,000 people or 50 per cent of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted. Outdoor events with up to 4,000 people or 50 per cent of the venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted.

How many people can be at weddings and funerals?

Following an update to the government roadmap in regards to funerals, as of 17 May the number of attendees allowed will be determined by the capacity of the venue, and how many people it can safely accommodate with social distancing. However, the number of people attending commemorative events, such as wakes, will be limited to 30 people.

Weddings and receptions can take place with up to 30 attendees in premises that are permitted to be open, this can be either indoors or outdoors. A broader range of life events will also be permitted at this step, including Bar Mitzvahs and Christenings.

Where can I get further information?

The government’s plan for lifting the lockdown in Spring 2021 can be found here.

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