The road to reopening restaurants

James Street

This week’s Government announcements have revealed a pathway out of lockdown and back to eating out. We bring you the lowdown on what diners might be able to expect, when and where.


Outdoor dining is to be allowed as early as 12 April. In the 2020 edition of The Good Food Guide, 46 per cent of restaurants have outside seating. 

From 17 May, it is expected that hospitality venues will be allowed to open for indoor dining; the ‘rule of six’ will apply, as will precautions including social distancing, reduced capacity and possibly mask wearing when not eating or drinking.

It is hoped that by 21 July, all businesses will be back to operating at full capacity with rules on social distancing removed.



Hospitality venues will not be able to reopen until at least 26 April, at which time Scotland will return to a levels system with restrictions based on infection rates in each area. It is not yet clear if these will be the same as the ones seen in 2020, but if unchanged, it could mean a ban on alcohol and 6pm closing.



The Welsh government has published a cautious roadmap out of lockdown which doesn’t currently detail a proposed date for restaurants and pubs to reopen. It’s unlikely that an announcement will be made on reopening in either of the next two three-week review periods.


Northern Ireland

Lockdown restrictions in Northern Ireland are set to continue until at least April. The Executive is due to publish a roadmap for reopening on 1 March.



Jersey restaurants were able to reopen on 22 February in venues where social distancing can be maintained. Rules allow a maximum of 10 people per table including those from different households; masks must be worn when not eating or drinking and venues must close at 10pm. Pubs not serving food currently remain closed.



Guernsey is currently in recovery stage 1. Restaurants, pubs and hotels are due to be allowed to reopen in stage 2 though a date for this is yet to be announced.



Restaurants and pubs have reopened with table service only. Enforced social distancing and the use of face masks will end on 4 March. Sark has yet to record a case of Covid. 


As restrictions continue, The Good Food Guide website will be updated with the latest information on takeaway, delivery, openings and all the information you need on the UK’s best restaurants.