Pubs and restaurants will be able to serve food and alcohol outdoors in April if coronavirus cases keep falling, it has been reported.
The reopening of hospitality is being fast-tracked in a major boost to the struggling sector, Downing Street insiders told The Sun.
Hospitality had been earmarked to reopen in May, with only the possibility of takeaway pints allowed in April.
The rule of six and social distancing is expected to remain in place throughout summer as a compromise for the early reopening, according to the newspaper’s report.
A Government source said: ‘We will hopefully be sipping pints in the spring sunshine sooner rather than later.’
It is understood a wider reopening for limited indoor mixing in pubs and restaurants is still planned for May.
It has previously been reported that the substantial meal rule and a curfew will be scrapped when this happens.
In further good news, reports suggest sports fans could be sent Covid tests along with their tickets so they can watch major events over summer, including the Euros and Wimbledon.
It comes after the UK’s R rate – the rate the virus reproduces – fell below one to its lowest level since July.
The country is also on course to hit its target of vaccinating 15 million Brits in the top four priority groups by Monday.
One minister said the numbers are ‘looking good’ and a path back to freedom can be plotted.
They said that all strains of the virus are far less likely to spread outside, adding: ‘It is all going well. The rates are coming down, the numbers are looking good. We are on course for the roadmap.
‘Outdoor ventilation is key. There are new mutations of the virus, but nothing changes how it spreads.’
Boris Johnson is expected to unveil his roadmap out of lockdown on Monday, February 22.
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