WORLD / EUROPE
Restaurants in England set for comeback
Published: Apr 12, 2021 06:23 PM
A woman walks on the street near Leicester Square in London, Britain, Dec. 21, 2020.(Photo: Xinhua)

A woman walks on the street near Leicester Square in London, Britain, Dec. 21, 2020.(Photo: Xinhua)


Britain took another tentative step toward the resumption of normal life on Monday as pubs and restaurants were allowed to partially reopen, in a major ­easing of coronavirus restrictions.

English pubs and restaurants can now serve drinkers and diners outside, despite forecasts of wintry temperatures, bringing some cheer to the hard-hit hospitality industry after repeated closures.

Also able to reopen are barbers and hairdressers, where demand is high for long overdue trims more than three months after the latest stay-at-home order was imposed.

A surge of shoppers is expected at stores in the non-essential retail sector as outlets try to recoup heavy COVID-19 losses.

Indoor gyms, swimming pools, libraries and zoos have also been given the go-ahead to open their doors, as have self-catering domestic holidays, where bookings have soared.

Mosques are meanwhile preparing for the start of Ramadan this week, a year after the Muslim holy month was observed without traditional community gatherings.

The resumption of ­Ramadan prayers, even with some social distancing measures, could give worshippers "a renewed optimism," said the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Zara Mohammed.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the easing of ­restrictions "a major step forward in our roadmap to freedom."

Johnson had promised to toast the latest easing with a celebratory pint at a pub beer garden - a year to the day since he left hospital after contracting COVID-19.
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