Today’s announcement by the Prime Minister about England’s ‘road out of lockdown’ brought a mixture of good and bad news for Ruddington’s hospitality businesses.
Boris Johnson confirmed, as anticipated, that ‘Step 4’ – which he dubbed “Freedom Day” – will be delayed by a month due to concerns about the continuing spread of the more infectious and vaccine-resistant ‘Delta’ Coronavirus variant in the UK. He said this pause should allow the vaccination of around five million more people before remaining restrictions are lifted.
Here in Ruddington, the latest Government data indicates COVID-19 is ‘supressed’, with fewer than 3 cases. Elsewhere, however, infections are up by a third in the past week, with another 7,700 people nationwide testing positive. Despite this, there will still be some further ‘easing’ next Monday (June 21st) which will come as music to the ears of our village wedding venues and care home residents.
The previous easing of Coronavirus restrictions in ‘Step 3’ on May 17th meant it was almost back to ‘business as usual’ for most Ruddington traders – albeit with continued use of face coverings and social distancing. However, the need to continue with these measures plus table service and the ‘rule of six’ indoors has reduced indoor capacity at our pubs, cafes and restaurants and hit their trade – and will now continue to do so until July 19th.
Lindsey Flint, landlady of The Victoria Tavern on Wilford Road, was one of those who decided not to reopen last month for this reason, telling us: “50% occupancy last time lost me money. Higher overheads from when we reopen mean we need to operate the business to the best of our ability whilst keeping a careful eye on everything we spend. We want our customers to feel reassured that when they come to the Tavern, they will be able to sit with friends and enjoy a good night out – rather than being told where to sit and who they can talk to!”
On hearing today’s announcement, Lindsey added: “Well it’s pretty much as we expected – though, of course, it’s very disappointing and frustrating. Sadly we will remain closed for the time being.”
However, the good news for venues such as Ruddington Grange Golf Club and The Cottage Hotel is that scrapping the 30 guest cap at weddings will still go ahead – meaning happy couples will be able to have as many family and friends as the venue can fit whilst maintaining ‘social distancing’. Therefore wedding events booked in the next five weeks should still be able to proceed according to plan, although numbers for any other gatherings will remain under the current COVID restrictions.
It’s also very welcome news for Ruddington care home residents requiring hospital treatment. They will no longer have to isolate for 14 days on their return to Balmore Country House, Orchard House or St Peter’s Care Home after June 21st.
Other announcements from Number 10 Downing Street today included the trial of ‘vaccine passports’ at some upcoming Euro 2020 matches, the Government’s ‘work from home’ guidance remaining in place for now, and its Furlough scheme not being extended – ending in September as previously planned. However, vaccinations will open for 23 and 24-year-olds from tomorrow (Tuesday 15th) and the over-40s will now receive their second jab after just eight weeks, instead of twelve.
Here, Rushcliffe Borough Council is reminding event organisers to stringently check they have all COVID secure measures in place to ensure the safety of those who attend planned community or other gatherings.
Following this roadmap extension of Step 3 to July 19th, the authority says it is aware of the great lengths most organisers are going to ensuring their planned events can still go ahead. However, with many anticipating all restrictions would have been lifted by June 21st, it’s asking them to contact its Environmental Health and Licensing Teams, with any questions or a need to clarify legislation. If so, they should email email@example.com or call on 0115 981 9911.
MPs will vote on this delay in the lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions on Wednesday, which they are expected to approve. We’ll continue to keep you posted here at RUDDINGTON.info.