PUBS could start to reopen this summer if people use beer gardens and keep at least 1m apart, officials say.
Ministers are in talks with pub bosses to work out exactly how they can get our local boozers back in business.
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At the moment the UK Government has imposed a strict 2m social distancing rule which would make it "impossible" for pubs to operate.
But PHE’s health protection director Prof Yvonne Doyle told MPs: “This will be the subject of continued investigation whether two metres is actually necessary or whether that can be reduced."
World Health Organisation guidance states one metre can be safe enough when other safeguards are in place.
The pub industry want the social distancing guidance to be reduced from 2m to 1m.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said that for many pubs, implementing a two-metre rule will mean they are closed for much longer.
She said: "Reopening in July will be great for those pubs who can meet the social-distancing measures required by then.
"However, it must be recognised that no two pubs are the same and for many, ensuring a distance of two metres will be impossible, keeping them closed for much longer.
"Actioning advice from the WHO for example to use one metre for social distancing from July would enable many more pubs to viably reopen and serve their communities again.
"We stand ready to work with the Government to help pubs reopen in a safe and financially viable way as soon as possible."
Wetherspoons has today revealed plans for reopening its 875 pubs with a reduced menu and temperature checks for staff.
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