Fewer than a quarter of licensed premises in England opened for outdoor trading last week as Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed, according to new figures.
The latest Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and Alix Partners found that 20,832 venues across England opened for outdoor service last week. The move was the first step in the reopening of hospitality, ahead of the relaunch of indoor service on 17 May.
According to CGA, 23.2% of England’s 89,953 venues were open and trading again by 15 April.
The report found that reopenings were more widespread in the pub sector. Across England, 39.1% of food-led pubs have opened, while 31.6% of community pubs and 29.9% of high street pubs are now offering outdoor service.
By region, CGA said openings have been ‘spread quite evenly across the country’.
The highest level was in the Central and East region, where 24.4% are open. In contrast, just 21.8% of venues in North England opened last week.
All licensed premises in Scotland and Wales remain closed until later this month.
Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “The return of outdoor service is a welcome first step on the road to recovery for England’s hospitality sector, and for pubs in particular.
“Venues that have been able to open have worked hard to give people the eating and drinking out experiences they have missed for so long, but they remain subject to major operational constraints and the unpredictability of the British spring weather.
“Three in four venues in England remain closed, and while some may open over the next few weeks, we will have to wait another four weeks until it is feasible for many hospitality venues to reopen again.
“Until then, operators deserve support from local authorities to make the most of outdoor trading space – not to mention some sunshine.”