Lockdown laws could be replaced with restrictive guidance later this month, in what has been described as a ‘smoke and mirrors’ reopening.

While it is still hoped that the current lockdown restrictions will end on 21 June, some MP and industry figures have suggested that even if legal requirements are lifted, strict guidance could be in place instead, encouraging people to act as if still in lockdown, The Telegraph has reported.

Yesterday (8 April), official guidance encouraging people in Covid hotspots to meet outside and minimise travel, were extended to Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

Health secretary Matt Hancock has indicated that the easing of lockdown could be delayed while data on the Indian variant is assessed, while it has have been reported by The Times this morning that cabinet minister Michael Gove ‘would put money’ on restrictions being relaxed on 21 June, in contrast to many other ministers.

Giving evidence to the House of Commons Treasury Committee hearing on Monday (7 June), UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls highlighted the need for further support from government.

Nicholls said: “Current government support is not sufficient to cover the sustained hit on revenues that businesses in the sector have suffered following months of lockdown and more than a year of tough trading restrictions. Average hospitality monthly costs are between £10,000 and £20,000, while the average government support is £3,000 per month.”

She also reiterated the importance of the government sticking to its roadmap and lifting all restrictions on 21 June, as currently only two in five hospitality businesses are operating profitably and many, such as nightclubs, are yet to reopen.