Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to serve outside in April if Covid cases continue to fall, it has been reported.
The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with pub bosses pleading for a reopening date after reporting £8billion losses in 2020.
But now it has been reported hospitality is being fast-tracked in a major boost to the blighted sector and thirsty Brits with the all-important R rate falling below one nationwide for the first time since July 2020.
A government source told The Sun: "We will hopefully be sipping pints in the spring sunshine sooner rather than later."
Hospitality had been earmarked to reopen in May, with only takeaway pints allowed in April, but that has reportedly been sped up.
A wider reopening for limited indoor mixing in pubs and restaurants is still planned for May.
It is likely the Rule-of-Six limits and two-metre social distancing measures will stay in place all summer.
Britain remains on course to reach the big target of vaccinating 15 million people before the Monday, February 15 deadline.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will explain Britain's road of lockdown on February 22, with the reopening of schools on March 8 set to be the first step.
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A minister told The Sun: "It is all going well. The rates are coming down, the numbers are looking good.
"We are on course for the roadmap. Outdoor ventilation is key.
"There are new mutations of the virus, but nothing changes how it spreads.
"Things won’t reopen as quickly as some may want. We will be cautious, opening one thing to see how it goes before moving to the next."
Scientists said yesterday the official R rate is between 0.7 and 0.9 – the first time since last July that it has been below 1 nationwide.
Earlier this week the British Beer and Pub Association demanded the government give firms a clear timeline and a "roadmap to recovery" after warning many pubs will not survive 2021.
Meanwhile, reopening sports events to fans this summer may also be aided by issuing Covid tests with tickets.
This might allow fans to attend the likes of Wimbledon and football's European Championships.
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