Covid: Yorkshire and Lincolnshire business owners react to delay to June 21 re-opening

Business owners across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire have been reacting to the news that lockdown restrictions in England will not be removed for at least four weeks.

The government's roadmap had planned for all lockdown restrictions to be removed on June 21 - meaning that venues such as nightclubs would be able to re-open and theatres could open at full capacity.

However, due to rising cases of the Delta variant in the UK, the removal of restrictions has been put back until July 19, although the Prime Minister said that this will be reviewed in two weeks time.

The move follows warnings from scientists that the rapid spread of the Delta variant first identified in India risks a “substantial” third wave if it is allowed to spread unchecked.

There was good news for weddings, however, with the limit of 30 people being lifted although there will be capacities for venues and no dance floor will be allowed.

Wedding venues have said they felt they were being ignored with restrictions still being in place for them. Credit: ITV News

Last week wedding vendors told ITV Calendar that they needed certainty on what would happen after June 21.

The Prime Minister has said that weddings in a "covid-secure" venue will need to do a risk assessment on the numbers allowed, but that garden weddings will have no limit on numbers.

Guests will have to remain seated at weddings with table service being needed and guests will have to wear masks when walking around.

One wedding planner told ITV News that she was pleased with the move, but that it presented challenges as venues worked out what their limit on guest numbers would be.

Jessica Wolley, who is from Wakefield and due to get married in two weeks, said that she is "over the moon" that they will be able to have more than 30 guests at the wedding.

She added: "All that matters to us is that everyone we love and care about is there, you go through what you will and won't accept and for us it was numbers - we just want everybody there so I couldn't have wished for more today really."

What was supposed to change from June 21?

As part of the original roadmap out of lockdown for England, June 21 was the earliest date for the fourth and final step.

The current rules are:

  • Up to 6 people allowed to gather indoors and 30 people outdoors.

  • Restaurants, cafes and pubs allowed to serve people indoors and outdoors.

  • Most indoor entertainment venues allowed to open, e.g. cinemas, theatres, play areas and hotels.

  • Indoor adult group sports and exercise classes allowed to operate.

  • Wedding and funerals limited to 30 people. These include other types of significant life events, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

  • Indoor music and sports events can operate with up to 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is the lower number).

  • Outdoor music and sports events can operate with up to 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is the lower number).

  • In the largest outdoor venues, like football stadiums, up to 10,000 people are able to attend or a quarter-full - whichever is lower.

What is the next step?

  • All legal limits on social gatherings, indoors and outdoors, removed.

  • Remaining premises, including nightclubs, to reopen.

  • Relaxing of limits for large events.

  • But social distancing, hand washing and ventilation practices to continue.

Jason Reid, a nightclub owner in Lincoln, said: "It's frustrating, we planned for this day so we're still one of the only businesses closed now.

"Especially when you see things online like football matches are absolutely fine going ahead - you can get a flight to a nightclub abroad and then you come back and you can't do that here."

Dave Biddle, who runs the Camel club in Huddersfield, said that they can survive for another month but only just.

"Another month is doable, it's bearable, it's another month not trading, it's another months rent we've got to find," he said.

He said that anything after that would be a challenge.

Greg Fell, the Director of Public Health for Sheffield, said it was always going to be a fine balance between rising cases of Covid-19 and reopening the economy.

He said: "Variants of concern and the Delta variant, the one that originated in India, were always where the roadmap was most likely to come unstuck and that will and is playing out."

Ray King, who runs the Milton Rooms in Malton, said that a further delay is "devastating" to the theatre which is run mainly by volunteers.

Case rates in the area are below the national average and much lower than the rest of the Calendar region.

Ray said: "We were booking in various events for after June 21 and that's not going to happen now. It is devastating and heartbreaking for those that are programming the events.

"We will have to reschedule some of these events and hopefully the artists will come back to us.

"We need the events, we need the income, we need the people to come through and I believe the community needs this type of venue to attend - they're bursting for it, that's been shown in the events we have held in the last few months."