Pub gardens could reopen by next MONTH says tourism boss – and self-catering, caravan and camping hols are on the way

A DRINK in a pub garden could be just around the corner with hopes of reopening them by next month, according tourism bosses.

Pete Waters, Chief Executive of Visit East also predicted camping and caravan holidays could be next to open.

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He explained on Radio 4's Today Programme: "One of our largest hospitality businesses believes that pubs may be able to reopen next month.

"Whether that is just beer gardens or indoors as well, we're not quite sure.

"As the summer comes I think we'd all like to be sitting in a beer garden in England."

According to the government, bars and restaurants could open by July 1, dependent on the ability to allow customers to safely social distance.

Greene King pubs are already planning to open beer gardens when restrictions are lifted further, with punters ordering drinks via phones when the lockdown lifts.

Mr Waters added that outdoor holidays could be next to open, including camping and caravan trips.

He continued: "Some businesses like self catering agencies and camping and caravanning could get running very quickly.

"We can certainly see a path forward – but only if people behave responsibly and adhere to social distancing.

"Businesses here in the east are desperate to reopen, but only when it is safe and economically viable.

He added that while he "understood" people from towns and cities want to escape to the countryside, social distancing needs to be followed to keep people safe.

Instead, a new "clean and safe kite-mark" could be introduced by the end of the month, Mr Water said, which would work as an online assessment portal for small businesses to use to ensure they are meeting safety guidelines for their guests.

However, Mr Waters warned that the economy has already taken a hit in the east of England, with a drop of £2.3 billion in 2020 -approximately 23 per cent.

He added: "It is an existential crisis for the visitor economy across the country and we don't know what the long term damage will be.

His comments follow plans put forward by Tourism Alliance director Kurt Janson, who suggested pubs should use streets and farms to be able to extend their pub garden limits.

He told Sun Online Travel: "Pubs could open back onto fields, especially in rural areas, and use farmer's fields to increase the footfall."

"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."

If camping holidays in the UK do resume this year, then there are some great spots to park up.

Here are the best caravan sites to visit later this summer.


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