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Drink sales soared 114% higher than pre-virus on pubs reopening day
Pubs, restaurants and bars which reopened on Monday have said their sales were more than double the levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic struck, according to new figures.
Hospitality data specialists at CGA said that like-for-like drink sales jumped by 113.8% on the first day of outdoor trading, compared with the same day in 2019.

Hospitality firms in England welcomed customers again on Monday after at least three months of closure due to the latest set of lockdown measures.

However, only 38.2% of venues, around 41,100 licensed premises in total, had the outdoor space to enable them to reopen this week.

Venues will be able to reopen for indoor trading from May 17, in the third phase of the Government’s road map.

On Monday, total like-for-like sales were almost 60% above the same level two years ago, as strong drink sales were partly offset by weaker demand for outdoor dining during the cold weather.

Jonny Jones, CGA’s MD for UK & Ireland, said: “The first day of trading after England’s lockdown showed a fairly solid performance and demonstrates how consumers were keen to enjoy their first drink out with like-for-like drinks sales up nearly 115% for outlets that were open compared with the equivalent day in 2019.

“Food sales didn’t fare quite so well, at 12% below 2019 levels, but this is understandable given that operators can currently only trade outside.”

Published: 14/04/2021 by Radio NewsHub

Covid jab could become condition of deployment for care home staff – Government
Care home staff in England could be required to get a coronavirus vaccine as a condition of deployment to protect elderly residents, the Government has said.
The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a consultation on making vaccination a condition of deployment for care home staff.

The five-week consultation will seek views on the proposal, any potential impact it could have on staffing and safety, how it could be implemented and who could be exempt.

Staff, care providers, residents and their families and other stakeholders are being urged to take part.

A decision is expected to be made this summer.

According to experts from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), 80% of staff and 90% of residents need to be vaccinated to provide a minimum level of protection against Covid-19 outbreaks.

The DHSC said nearly half of care homes for older residents in England are not meeting this threshold.

The Government is urging all care home workers to take up a jab now to keep themselves and residents safe.

Published: 14/04/2021 by Radio NewsHub

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Boris Johnson warns easing lockdown restrictions will inevitably lead to more deaths
The Prime Minister says the easing of lockdown restrictions will “inevitably” lead to more infections and deaths as the NHS moves to the next stage of vaccine rollout
The Prime Minister urged people to continue to “exercise restraint” as beer gardens were packed and shoppers flocked to high streets after the latest round of the Government’s coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England on Monday.

Mr Johnson said that although vaccines had helped, lockdown restrictions had done “the bulk of the work” in reducing Covid-19 infections.

The start of “Phase 2” of the vaccination programme – which involves offering vaccines to healthy adults aged under 50 – came after the Government met its target of offering the vaccine to all those in the highest risk groups.

Speaking in Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: “It’s great that we have managed to achieve the target of getting everyone in the one to nine (priority) groups vaccinated by the deadline, by the timetable – a little bit ahead actually, 32 million people now have got their first dose, which is terrific.

“We are going now to the 45-49 group, they are being asked to come forward.”

But he added: “Of course the vaccination programme has helped, but the bulk of the work in reducing the disease has been done by the lockdown.

“So, as we unlock, the result will inevitably be that we will see more infection, sadly we will see more hospitalisation and deaths.

“People have just got to understand that.”

Mr Johnson said there were no plans at present to change the road map out of lockdown. The next “waymarks” on England’s plan to ease restrictions are due on May 17 and June 21.

“But it is very, very important that, if we are to get there in the way that we all want, people continue to be cautious and they continue to exercise restraint and just do the basic things to stop the spread of the virus – washing your hands, giving people plenty of space, doing things in fresh air,” he added.

Mr Johnson urged the eligible people to come forward and get their jab when offered, adding that he remains “very confident” about vaccine supplies despite previous concerns over constraints.

When The NHS’s online booking system opened up to include people over the age of 45 on Tuesday, the website crashed for many.

There are an estimated 3.7 million people in England aged 45 to 49.

The NHS in England said 19 out of 20 of those most at risk of the virus have now received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

An estimated 27 million people in England are in the top nine priority groups, so it is likely around 25.7 million have received their first Covid-19 jab.

But this suggests around 1.3 million have not had the jab.

One vaccination expert said that it was “vitally important” to vaccinate “the last few per cent”, or they could get infected and end up in hospital.

Professor Jeremy Brown, from University College London Hospitals and a member of the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), told the Today programme: “The problem here is that 5-10% have not been vaccinated.

“When the virus re-circulates through the community they could get infected and end up in hospital.

“So it’s vitally important that we get that last few per cent.”

Published: 13/04/2021 by Radio NewsHub

Firm offers discounted PCR tests for holidaymakers
A major coronavirus testing firm is to offer cut-price PCR tests for travellers returning to the UK from overseas.
Randox announced it will charge customers flying with partner airlines £60 for the tests, which typically cost around £120.

The partner airlines have not been identified, but the PA news agency understands they will be major carriers and the discount will be available ahead of the summer.

Last week’s Government announcement that travellers returning to the UK from all destinations will be required to take PCR tests was met with an angry response from the travel industry.

Many firms wanted people arriving from low-risk countries to be able to take rapid lateral flow device tests, which are significantly cheaper and give results in 30 minutes or less.

PCR tests require swabs being processed in a laboratory, which can take several days and add to the expense.

Randox managing director Dr Peter FitzGerald said: “In recognition of the needs of both the travel industry and the British public at this unprecedented time, Randox will reduce the all-inclusive cost of PCR testing for those in the UK undertaking international travel to £60 per test.

“We can see the pressures faced by both the travel industry and the general public and are committed to effective and economical testing to support holidaymakers and those undertaking international travel.”

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy the PC Agency, said reducing the price of testing is “the magic wand to recovery in the travel sector”.

He went on: “More providers need to encourage people back to travel with lower per person costs so as to stimulate the market.”

Mr Charles also urged the Government to abolish VAT on tests “so that the sector can benefit from every measure possible”.

He added: “Border policies have crushed the travel sector and it now needs full support to get back on its feet.”

Published: 13/04/2021 by Radio NewsHub

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