Pubs and restaurant owners said they needed to see light at the end of the tunnel after a devastating year for the hospitality industry.
Former Conservative leader Lord Hague heaped further pressure on the Prime Minister by saying there would be little justification for keeping most Covid limits once the over-50s have been vaccinated in April.
Some people are on the (tug-o-war) pitch… they think it’s all over!
Off the leash: Owners take their dogs for a walk in Richmond Park, south-west London
This came as 40 Tory MPs joined with the hospitality industry to urge Mr Johnson to open pubs and restaurants in time for Easter.
Meanwhile Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, called on the Prime Minister to open up the tourism industry.
‘There is enormous demand for seeing friends and family, and taking a holiday,’ he said. ‘Passengers and airlines want to see a bold plan detailing how and when they will be able to take to the skies, safely, again.’
Lord Hague told Sky News: ‘I’m hoping to hear that before too long the great majority of restrictions can be lifted.
Members of the public enjoy a walk, cycle or run in Hyde Park, central London
‘If we are going to reach the point where everybody over 50 has had the opportunity to be vaccinated and the number of cases is down to a very low level, the sort of level we last saw in the middle of summer last year.
‘If both of those things have happened by some time in April, then there wouldn’t be much justification for keeping most of the restrictions.
‘Coming in through 2021, we ought to be in a position with mass testing, a test and trace system and the huge success of the vaccination programme… then we do have the tools to prevent future lockdowns.’
Last night the UK’s leading hospitality trade associations joined forces with the Covid Recovery Group of 40 Tory MPs to call for the sector to open by Easter.
Mark Harper, CRG chairman, said: ‘Britain’s hospitality industry has had one of the toughest years on record and it’s vital we do everything we can to get them open in a Covid-secure way that allows them to protect jobs and operate viably.
‘As we get better and better news about the pace of the vaccination rollout, the public have got to see this success and their sacrifice translating into a return to normal life.’
Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the CRG, said pubs and the rest of the hospitality industry had lost hundreds of thousands of jobs ‘and 40 per cent of its businesses are due to fail this year if we don’t start safely lifting restrictions’.
Parklife: All the people happily stroll along the Long Walk in Windsor, Berkshire
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: ‘Pubs demonstrated last year that the trade was able to reopen safely.
‘The millions of pounds of investment in Covid-secure measures mean that we’re in a great position to do so again.’
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said ‘just one in five hospitality businesses’ have enough funds to survive the next month.
‘That is why we urge the Prime Minister to work with us on delivering a safe, swift and sustainable exit from lockdown for hospitality,’ she added. ‘The best way to support these businesses is to allow them to reopen.’
John Foster, of the Confederation of British Industry, said that companies are looking to Mr Johnson to ‘provide a pragmatic route out of lockdown and inject some real momentum back into the economy’.
So much for social distancing! Crowds flock to parks and beauty spots as Britain basks in a balmy 60F temperatures on hottest day of the year so far – while infection rates drop again with Boris set to announce route out of lockdown tomorrow
A break in the rainfall that has saturated much of Britain this week provided the perfect opportunity for crowds of people to head outside to enjoy the hottest day of 2021 so far.
With Covid-19 infection rates having fallen by 10 per cent on last week, many headed outside for some lockdown relief and to make the most of a rare dry day.
Hoards of sunseekers were seen making the most of the break in the recent rain by taking strolls or enjoying a sit down away from their bubbles.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to outline his roadmap for steering the nation of of its third national lockdown, but many people took matters into their own hands early to bask in the rare sunshine.
Pictures from today saw many people meeting in large groups outside, some with people from outside of their own social bubbles, as Britain enjoyed a warmer day.
The warmest temperatures today were found in Weybourne, Norfolk, where the mercury nudged 60F making it the warmest day of 2021 so far.
A break in the rainfall that has saturated much of Britain this week provided the perfect opportunity for crowds of people to head outside to enjoy the hottest day of 2021 so far. Pictured: These people were spotted enjoying a tug of war on Hampstead Heath as conditions continue to improve
An ice cream truck sees a huge queue of customers waiting to buy a treat earlier today in Hampstead Heath as the country enjoyed its hottest day of 2021
With Covid-19 infection rates having fallen by 10 per cent on last week, many headed outside for some lockdown relief and to make the most of a rare dry day. Pictured: People enjoy a walk in Windsor, Berkshire earlier today
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to outline his roadmap for steering the nation of of its third national lockdown, but many people took matters into their own hands to bask in the rare sunshine. Pictured: People head out in large groups to make the most of a rare dry day in Richmond Park today
Pictures from today saw many people meeting in large groups outside, some with people from outside of their own social bubbles, as Britain enjoyed a warmer day. Pictured: Large groups of people out enjoying the rare sunshine in Hyde Park earlier today
Covid-19 infection rates have continued to drop with 9,834 more coronavirus cases announced – a fall of 10 per cent on last week – while the 215 new daily deaths brought Britain’s total up to 120,580
Large crowds gathered on Hampstead Heath (pictured) earlier today to exercise together as people pre-empted the Prime Minister’s roadmap for leaving the third national lockdown, expected tomorrow
Hoards of people were spotted out and about in tourist spots such as near Tower Bridge, London, today as they made the most of the hottest day of 2021 so as temperatures reached 60F in Norfolk
Just two weeks ago the same town froze in 0.8C temperatures, showing the upturn in the recent mild conditions.
Today in London dozens of people were spotted sitting and walking closely to others near Tower Bridge with little or no thought for the two-metre rule.
People also seemed to be ignoring the rules in Hyde Park where some stopped to have picnics together and others nonchalantly strolled by parked police cars.
The area near Tower Bridge was bristling with activity today with people breaking lockdown to go for strolls and sit out in the sunshine near the world famous tourist site
People sunning themselves outside did not seem to be considering Government lockdown rules as they chatted with friends near Tower Bridge today
In Hyde Park some were seen paying no attention to the police cars as they calmly went for a stroll out in the afternoon sunshine, despite there being no change in the lockdown guidelines
The warmer temperatures were just too tempting for some who could not resist heading out with dogs and pushchairs in the balmy winter conditions, following several days of rain
Plenty sat out in the greens of Hyde Park today but at least were seen to be careful to not venture too closely to other groups doing the same thing in the hottest day of 2021 so far- with hotter yet to come
And in Windsor people strolled together on the Long Walk near other groups
Current restrictions forbid meeting other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.
Any outdoor gatherings must be limited to between just two people from two households, yet crowds of sunseekers took to beaches and green spaces across the country today, just days ahead of Boris Johnson’s ‘roadmap’ to freedom announcement.
The warmer conditions were just too tempting for some people who could not wait to get outside after watching the rain fall for several weeks. The conditions are expected to get better during the week and peak at about 62F in the southeast
This group was spotted seemingly taking a martial arts lesson in the winter sunshine ahead of tomorrow’s rumoured plans for easing lockdown rules expected by the Prime Minister in the Houses of Parliament
Several people seemed to agree it was the perfect temperatures to be outside in the sunshine instead of being cooped up inside, following the Government’s Covid guidelines
Martin Bowles, operating meteorologist from the Met Office said we can look forward to more mild conditions this week, with the south east even set to bask in 62F.
He said: ‘It’s going to stay quite mild as we have a southerly flow.
‘Some places will still get more rain than others. But we can expect it to stay milder and dryer next weekend.’
It comes after several weeks of rainy weather across the country bringing flood misery to thousands.
The London skyline can be seen behind these people out for a stroll on Hampstead Heath earlier today
Sally Bloor and her sons Fin, five, and Sam, three, have fun cycling through a flooded road near Ely in Cambridgeshire
Near Trinity College, Cambridge, beautiful crocuses were seen blooming in the winter sunshine as cyclists stopped for a rest
Several people ventured out to enjoy the beautiful scenery in Cambridge and warmer temperatures, despite lockdown rules
The beautiful blooming crocuses looked a picture of colour in some scenes seen around Cambridge today
The Met Office says there will be further rain tonight through southwest England, parts of the Midlands, Wales and northern England.
Northern Ireland and Scotland can expect it to stay mostly dry.
But that could change on Tuesday when southwest Scotland and into the northwest of England, such as Cumbria, have a yellow rain warning.
Martin added: ‘We had quite a lot of rain three or four days ago which came quite out of the blue.
‘Some rivers will be quite close to overflowing as it is and some flood warnings will be put out.’
Rules on leaving the house in lockdown
- You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).
- You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.
- You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.
- Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.
Detailed guidance on the national lockdown:
You must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. This will be put in law. The police can take action against you if you leave home without a ‘reasonable excuse’, and issue you with a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice).
You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.
A ‘reasonable excuse’ includes:
- Work – you can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home
- Volunteering – you can also leave home to provide voluntary or charitable services
- Essential activities – you can leave home to buy things at shops or obtain services. You may also leave your home to do these things on behalf of a disabled or vulnerable person or someone self-isolating
- Education and childcare – you can only leave home for education, registered childcare, and supervised activities for children where they are eligible to attend.
- Meeting others and care – you can leave home to visit people in your support bubble ( if you are legally permitted to form one), to provide informal childcare for children under 14 as part of a childcare bubble (for example, to enable parents to work), to provide care for disabled or vulnerable people
- Exercise – you can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble, limited to once per day, and not outside your local area
- Medical reasons – you can leave home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies
- Harm and compassionate visits – you can leave home to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse).
- You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment
- Animal welfare reasons – you can leave home for animal welfare reasons, such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment
- Communal worship and life events – You can leave home to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony.
There are further reasonable excuses. For example, you may leave home to fulfil legal obligations or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property, or where it is reasonably necessary for voting in an election or referendum.