The countdown is on - it's just one month until beer gardens are scheduled to reopen in England and we can go and get ourselves a long overdue pint with pals.
Under the government roadmap to leaving lockdown, outdoor hospitality will hopefully reopen on 12 April - provided all goes to plan, of course - meaning we're within touching distance of our first pub-bought drink of the year.
And by then British Summer Time will have officially kicked off, with the clocks going forward an hour on Sunday 28 March, meaning we'll all have an extra hour of daylight to really make the most of being sat outside with a pint or seven.
If your local doesn't have a beer garden, that doesn't necessarily mean it won't be able to start selling food and drink outdoors, because Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has asked local councils not to crack down on pubs and restaurants that choose to put seating outside and erect marquees in beer gardens as the industry plans to reopen around 12 April.
Jenrick said that he intends to cut back on bureaucracy in order to maximise the benefits to pubs and restaurants that have been forced to remain closed for so long during the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: "I'm determined that we don't let red tape get in the way of a great British summer.
"The planning changes we put in place last year have been a lifeline to many businesses and they're here to stay for the summer of 2021.
"We will be extending pavement licences for a further 12 months, making it easier and cheaper for pubs, restaurants and cafes to continue to make al fresco dining a reality with outside seating, tables and street stalls to serve food and drinks."
But before we get ahead of ourselves, it's important to remember that this is still only a plan and it could still be amended or moved if the government decides to do so.
That magical 12 April is the earliest possible date that outdoor hospitality could reopen and is reliant on the country hitting four tests:
If all goes according to plan for Step Two, then Step Three can begin no earlier than 17 May and will allow groups of up to 30 to meet outdoors, cinemas to reopen and organised indoor sport to recommence. International travel will also be allowed.
Step Four will begin no earlier than 21 June, at which point there will be no legal limits on social contact, enabling nightclubs to reopen and large events to go ahead.
Roll on summer.
Featured Image Credit: PA
Topics: UK News
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