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Thu 7th May 2020 - Update: Cafes opening, consumer attitudes, BrewDog, Fuller’s
Health secretary: Cafes with outside spaces could reopen over the summer: Health secretary Matt Hancock has opened up the possibility that outside spaces at cafes, restaurants and pubs could be allowed to reopen over the summer. Hancock was answering questions from viewers on Sky News, including one from a man who asked about the two-metre distancing rule and how he could safely reopen his cafe once the lockdown is lifted. Hancock said: “The business secretary (Alok Sharma) is working on the rules for safe working so, when we get the rate of new infections down, we can work on how people can get back to work as safely as possible. And we are going to say more about that very shortly. We’re very careful to follow the clinical advice on the two-metre rule, but there’s also very strong evidence that outdoors the spread is much, much lower so there may be workarounds that some businesses, for instance cafes especially over the summer, might be able to put into place.” The next stage in the coronavirus lockdown will start on Monday (11 May), Boris Johnson has confirmed as the government pushes to reopen the economy. The prime minister will make a televised speech on Sunday announcing a “road map” out of the current lockdown, with the first changes taking effect the next day. As part of this, there is growing speculation that the government is likely to give more leeway for outdoors activities to restart because of the reduced risk of transmitting the coronavirus in the open air. This raises the prospect of cafe terraces and beer gardens opening over the summer while pubs and restaurants with no outside areas must remain closed. A source told iNews: “There’s the sense in government that when things start to move on to the next stage, things are much more likely to happen outdoors than indoors. Epidemiologically, there is a slightly more liberal attitude to things that happen outdoors. It certainly looks a lot bleaker for indoor events.” 

Less than 25% of people comfortable eating/drinking out as soon as restrictions are lifted: Less than a quarter of people (22%) would be comfortable eating/drinking out as soon as restrictions are lifted, according to the Business Confidence Survey. The research from CGA and Fourth found 31% would be comfortable resuming normal visits to pubs, bars and restaurants, but would be cautious, whilst 21% would also resume visits, as long as there were added precautions in place. 14% of people said they wouldn’t feel comfortable resuming visits to pubs, restaurants and bars, whilst 13% said they didn’t know yet. 64% said they would feel more comfortable if tables/seats were moved apart, 60% if free hand sanitiser was available, 56% if there were enhanced cleaning protocols and 55% if there were social distancing measures. At the same time, 30% said they would feel more comfortable if staff wore protective equipment. When asked about long-terms changes in consumer behaviour post-lockdown, of the 120 operators surveyed, 80% expected increased hygiene demands, 71% a decreased frequency of eating and drinking out, 67% a reluctance to visit city and town centres, 52% an increased desire to support local, 43% an increased frequency of delivery and 34% an increased desire for premium experiences.

BrewDog reopens Oslo bar: BrewDog has reopened its bar in Oslo, Norway, the first of its sites around the world to reopen for customers to enter after a mandated closure. Retail director James Brown said: “Today we welcomed customers in at 4pm with a reduced capacity, tables one metre apart, no ordering or paying at the bar and the requirement to serve food during opening hours. All sensible stuff! By 5pm we had 50 people which is our new maximum capacity! As our bar network around Europe and the US reopens we will publish some of our compatible sales data hopefully it might give everyone some form of indication to public reaction and behaviour in the post-covid world.”

Asahi aims to raise money for National Emergencies Trust: Asahi has launched a fundraising campaign for the National Emergencies Trust. Asahi UK global head of craft and ale Jonathan Norman said: “Fuller’s and its beers are synonymous with London and its heritage, not least the spirit of community across the capital. We’ve launched the #LondonsPride campaign as our way of saluting all the heroes out there – of course the wonderful people of the NHS, but also the volunteers, the shop keepers, the teachers, the refuse workers, the delivery drivers – all of those who are going above and beyond to keep us all safe and keep London running. We’re working with the National Emergencies Trust to raise funds for their vital work at this time to support these efforts. We’re currently running a campaign on our social channels and a home page takeover to encourage people to donate via our website or a dedicated crowdfunder page. We’ll match any donations we receive up £50,000, so with the help of our amazing fans and consumer, our aim will be to hand over a total target donation of £100,000 to the National Emergencies Trust. Elsewhere, we’ve been doing what we can to support our frontline workers. All of them can receive a 20% discount at our online shop, and we’ve donated a large amount of free product to hospitals across London, to help stock their on-site grocery collection points, giving staff the opportunity for a well-deserved beer or soft drink at the end of a hard shift. These are just some small ways to show our gratitude and pride in those who deserve it most at this difficult time.”

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