Surge in restaurant bookings as eateries announce reopening dates

After official confirmation that restaurants in England can reopen on 4 July, eateries have been flooded with bookings as a growing number announce dates when they will be welcoming back diners.

Addressing the House of Commons yesterday (23 June), Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that restaurants and bars in England could reopen from 4 July, but only with table service. 

As was widely predicted, he revised the two-metre social distancing rule, meaning that tables would need to be spaced at least one-metre apart.

Punters are also required to leave their personal contact details, enabling hospitality outlets to track and trace those dining on a given day and time in case of an outbreak.

Robin Hutson, CEO of The Pig hotel group, told The Telegraph that bookings in the three hours after Johnson’s announcement were treble those recorded in the previous day, while website visits rose by 120%.

Steak chain Gaucho, which has said it is using ex-British Armed Forces professionals “to administer clinically tested chemicals in the air, covering the entire surface area” of the restaurants, also told the publication that demand had been high. So high, in fact, that its website crashed.

It received 3,000 reservations yesterday (23 June) for the 12 sites it is planning to reopen on 4 July.

It is a similar story story in Manchester. Simon Martin of Michelin-starred Mana told Manchester Evening News that the restaurant would resume trading on 4 July, with bookings for the coming weeks already 70% full.

Like many other restaurants in high demand, Mana had been cancelling the reservations of those booked to visit the restaurant during lockdown. Those affected were invited to reschedule from August.

Among the London restaurants scheduled to reopen their doors next Saturday are Italian wine bar and restaurant Passione Vino, Yotam Ottolenghi’s Nopi and Rovi, pasta palace Padella and sister site Trullo, wine specialist Sager + Wilde, Jackson Boxer’s Orasay and Brunswick House, Ollie Dabous’ Hide, two-Michelin starred Core by Clare Smyth and gastropub The Drapers Arms.

Others, such as Le Gavroche and the Oyster Bar at Bibendum, will reopen several days afterwards.

Outside of London, Simon Rogan’s two Michelin-starred Lake District eatery L’Enclume and casual dining site Rogan & Co. will reopen on 4 July, as will Tom Kerridge’s Hand & Flowers Michelin-starred pub in Marlow.

Mark Birchall’s Moor Hall in Lancashire will resume trading on 22 July, Raymond Blanc will open the doors to Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons on Bastille Day (14 July), and Paul Ainsworth at No. 6 in Padstow will reopen on 10 July.

Restaurants in Scotland are expected to be allowed to reopen in mid-July, but must wait until 2 July at the earliest to receive an exact date.

The Welsh government is also yet to set a date for reopening, while in Northern Ireland, restaurants will be allowed to reopen a day earlier than in England, on 3 July.

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