I hope that you had a happy and peaceful Easter, and were able to see friends and family again. I know just how special it was to be able to see my family again after so many months.
The next date we are all looking forward to and the next step in the Prime Minister’s easing of restrictions is 12th April when hopefully non-essential retail including hairdressers and other personal care facilities can open together with indoor sports and leisure facilities.
It is also the much-awaited date when outdoor areas at hospitality venues such as cafés, restaurants, bars and pubs can reopen, including for takeaway alcohol. At any premises serving alcohol, customers will be required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (“table service”).
Over the course of the pandemic, I have lobbied extensively for further support for the hospitality sector and hosted a number of roundtable conversations with pubs, breweries, wedding event businesses and other tourism and hospitality businesses in the Moorlands. I have organised and joined many zoom calls, spoken in the Chamber and alongside the All Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism and the UK Weddings Taskforce, I have signed letters lobbying Ministers, including the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, for more support.
Our local pubs, restaurants, cafés and wedding event businesses are getting ready to reopen, albeit with restrictions, on 12th April and I was therefore pleased to host another roundtable with pubs from the Moorlands this week together with Cllr Sybil Ralphs and representatives from Hospitality UK and North Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce to see what we can do to support them.
I would urge local people to try to support our local businesses – I know just how hard they have worked to make things Covid-secure and safe for all of us.