The Prime Minister has confirmed that lockdown rules in England will be relaxed as planned from 17 May with many more of England's leisure and hospitality properties able to operate (almost) as intended.

Pubs, bars and restaurants will be able to offer inside service and entertainment venues including theatres, cinemas, museums and sports stadia also allowed to reopen.

Given the particularly 'British' weather that has prevailed for the past few weeks this will bring welcome opportunity to many venues which have, so far this year, only been able to open their outdoor spaces.  

While pent-up demand has been evident and many customers have made the most of the opportunity to again partake in a pint at the Local (no doubt buoyed by the parasols, blankets, heat lamps and hot water bottles put on by many well-organised and quick-thinking businesses) we must remember that, in the first week of outdoor service, only one in four of England's licensed premises was open for trade.

Of course, some restrictions remain: propping up the bar is still not permitted and we must remain cautious when deciding whether or not to hug granny (or anyone else for that matter).  One eye will therefore firmly remain on 21 June, which is the proposed date for all legal limits on social contact to fall away.

At least that gives some opportunity to consider how to address the elephant in the room, being the rent deficit that has accrued for many hospitality, leisure and other businesses during the course of the pandemic.