Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to open with outdoor service today, April 12, in step two of the Government's 'roadmap' out of lockdown.

Businesses will have to wait at least another five weeks, when the third step of the roadmap kicks in on May 17, before they can serve customers inside.

Restrictions in England will be eased in all areas of the country at the same time, and outdoor activities have been prioritised as the best way to allow these changes.

With daily Covid cases below 3,500 and more than five million Britons fully vaccinated with two jabs, the Prime Minister has given the green light to phase two of his roadmap, in an announcement made on April 5.

When will pubs reopen?

Pubs will be allowed to reopen their beer gardens from today, but everyone who visits will have to check in on the NHS’s Test and Trace app. Pubs and restaurants are allowed to open in England providing they offer outdoor service (and strict table service) only. Venues around the country have already received thousands of bookings for their outdoor spaces.

What restrictions will there be?

From Apr 12, drinkers and diners must comply with a toughening of the test and trace rules, which previously only required one person from each group to register their attendance on the NHS Covid app.

All customers must check-in under the new regulations, allowing the NHS to more easily contact anyone who may have been in contact with someone infected with the virus.

Boris Johnson had previously indicated that coronavirus vaccine certificates could be introduced by pubs at the discretion of landlords, but confirmed in his announcement on Apr 5 that Covid status certification, as the Government is calling it, will not be required when people go to the pub from Apr 12 – nor will it be in stage three of the roadmap, when venues can serve customers inside.

Pilot schemes to test Covid passports are set to held during large events in April and May and will test how major gatherings can happen safely again.

The Government defines Covid certificates or passports as something that can show you have had either a jab, a negative test, or antibodies. It could turn one of the NHS smartphone apps into a digital Covid passport, meaning you can carry around with you proof of vaccination, a test, or antibodies.

Customers will be allowed to pay inside as a last resort. Drinkers had been advised to take cash to the pub with them to avoid falling foul of new rules that say staff should take payments outside, but the guidance was changed after industry bosses complained that poor rural broadband and mobile signal means card machines cannot be used in some pub gardens.

How many people will be allowed to drink together?

Groups of people will be permitted to eat and/or drink outside at pubs and restaurants so long as they observe the rule of six, which allows half a dozen people from different households to meet – or if they come from two different households. This means that two large families can meet up outside even if together there are more than six people present.

It won't be until May 17 at the earliest that pubs and restaurants can open indoor spaces. At this point, the rule of six and two households rule will be introduced indoors. It will be lifted outdoors, meaning people will be able to meet in larger groups in beer gardens or when dining al fresco. 

Will there still be a 10pm curfew and substantial meal rule?

No in both cases. The 10pm curfew that was introduced across the hospitality industry in 2020 will be scrapped when venues reopen.

The so-called Scotch egg rule has also been ditched; there will be no requirement for customers to order a substantial meal with their drink. This will come as a relief to MPs as well as customers, after ministers caused confusion over what constituted a "substantial" meal.

Landlords and restaurant owners struggled with the lack of clarification over restrictions last year, while some police forces were criticised for their "overzealous" patrolling of pubs.

Are the rules different in Scotland and Wales?

From Apr 26, pubs, restaurants, bars and cafés in Scotland can open outdoors until 10pm and are permitted to serve alcohol; indoors, no alcohol can be served and venues must close at 8pm. Up to four people from two different households can meet.

From May 17, hospitality businesses in Scotland can remain open indoors until 10.30pm and serve alcohol; alcohol will be served outdoors until 10pm. Customers will be given two-hour slots.  

In Wales, phased reopening dates are expected to be reviewed on Apr 22. The 10pm curfew will be removed when hospitality does reopen in Wales.

What does Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown mean for pubs?

Venues with beer gardens or access to an outside space will benefit from the al fresco arrangement, but those that can only offer indoor service (an environment with a higher risk of the virus spreading) will be prevented from opening until stage two – a situation that many owners have admitted could mean the end of their business.

However, Downing Street has confirmed that pubs will be able to serve takeaway drinks from Apr 12, in a potential boost for bars without gardens.

Read more: 'I'm opening a completely different pub to two summers ago' – landlady Michelle Utz reveals the challenges of opening on Freedom Day

What are you most looking forward to doing in June, if Covid restrictions have been lifted? Tell us in the comments section below