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It's been four months since we were last able to enjoy a meal out, but restaurants are now finally set to reopen.
As part of the plan to ease restrictions in England, a range of venues and businesses have been reopening recently - including the restaurants we've missed for so long. After going in to lockdown over four months ago (opens in new tab), businesses like restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs have been closed.
While takeaways have been permitted for a while now - it's been weeks and weeks since the public were allowed to sit down and enjoy a meal inside a restaurant. Many of us have had to turn to home-cooking store cupboard recipes (opens in new tab), or baking cakes, (opens in new tab) for a bit of culinary excitement.
But that is set to change very soon - so when do restaurants open in UK?
When do restaurants open in UK?
Restaurants were permitted to reopen in England from Saturday 4th July. While they were allowed to reopen then, the government has however warned that they can only reopen if they can be kept 'Covid-secure' - with social distancing measures and hygiene procedures in place.
Restaurants reopened on the same day as pubs (opens in new tab), cafes, and some bars - leading many people to dub the 4th July as 'Super Saturday (opens in new tab)'. It was the first time since 23rd March that restaurants in England were able to reopen again.
However, restaurants across the UK have not opened at the same time as those in England.
In Wales, restaurants and pubs can only reopen outdoors from today, Monday 13th July, and in Scotland, they will open indoors from 15th July.
What restaurants are open near me?
But while many eateries will gladly be reopening on the 4th, other businesses have chosen not to reopen until later on in the month. And some will be opening up again on a more gradual basis.
For example, popular chain Bills (opens in new tab) have only reopened six of their stores from 4th July - Birmingham, Nottingham, Reigate, Rushden Lakes, Wimbledon and Lewes. Wagamama (opens in new tab) is making a similar move, opening only four trial sites this weekend.
Nando's will also reopen ten restaurants from today for dining in, with diners asked to order and pay from their tables using their app, rather than at their counter.
The Nando's stores reopening are:
- Liverpool One
- Bolton Middlebrook
- Birmingham Bullring
- Bromley St Marks
- Park Royal
- Leeds J27
- Manchester Trafford Centre
- Westfield London
- Bluewater Winter Garden
MORE: What are the new pubs rules and times for opening this weekend after COVID 19? (opens in new tab)
Pizza Express however will not reopen its stores for dining in until 9th July. Customers will have to book in, and they are only reopening certain restaurants - find out more here (opens in new tab).
Zizzi (opens in new tab) has also announced that they will be phasing their re-opening, although they have not announced a date yet.
On Saturday 4th July, Prezzo also reopened some of their restaurants - see if your local has opened up again here (opens in new tab).
Steakhouse Miller & Carter also began taking bookings from 4th July - you will need to book in advance on their website here for a table (opens in new tab).
Cote Brasserie has announced (opens in new tab) that they will be opening back up again from today, Monday 6th July, at selected restaurants - their Windsor, Kingston and Chiswick branches will be the first to reopen.
MORE: The 36+ cities, towns and counties in the UK at risk of facing a localised lockdown (opens in new tab)
And of course, many restaurants will never reopen following the coronavirus pandemic. The Casual Dining Group, owner of Bella Italia, Las Iguanas, and Cafe Rouge, will be closing 91 of its restaurants across the UK.
And sadly, some Pizza Express restaurants are also closing down (opens in new tab).
Cafe Rouge restaurants closing across the UK
A full list of the Cafe Rouge restaurants that won't reopen has been revealed, with 31 shutting down:
- Bury St Edmonds
- Maidstone Earl St
- Harborne, in Birmingham
- Leamington Spa
- Mailbox, in Birmingham
- Canterbury Long
- Trafford Centre
- Exeter Princesshay
- Milton Keynes
What are the rules for restaurants reopening following coronavirus (opens in new tab)?
Boris Johnson stated that restaurants will need to have many measures in place (opens in new tab) in order to reopen safely, to try and reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading.
In his speech to the House of Commons, the Prime Minister explained, "All hospitality indoors will be limited to table-service, and our guidance will encourage minimal staff and customer contact.
"We will ask businesses to help NHS Test and Trace respond to any local outbreaks by collecting contact details from customers, as happens in other countries, and we will work with the sector to make this manageable."
So what safety and hygiene measures can you expect if you visit a restaurant?
- table service is required where possible, with no ordering at the bar
- or, ordering should happen via an app if possible
- each table should only be attended to by one member of staff only
- non-essential contact between staff (e.g waiters and chefs) should be limited, with the use of electronic devices to communicate
- encouraged use of hand sanitisers and hand-washing facilites as customers enter the venue and move around it
- guidance on social distancing throughout the venue
- booking via an app or through a website before you visit
So when will you be visiting a local restaurant next?
Amy is Senior Digital Writer across Woman & Home, GoodTo and Woman, writing about everything from celebrity news to health, fashion and beauty features. When she isn't obsessing over the latest dress drop from Marks & Spencer, you'll most likely find Amy out running, or with a cup of tea in hand ready to dive into a gripping new Netflix series.
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