MP Bob Seely has welcomed the news that parts of the leisure and tourism industry can start to open up from 4 July - saying it marked a turning point for Island businesses and local livelihoods.

He said the changes - announced by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on Tuesday 23 June – would enable many IW tourism-related businesses to implement the plans they had been working up over the past few weeks. 

Bob said: “I welcome the changes which the Prime Minister has announced. I have spoken to many Island businesses throughout the Covid-19 outbreak who have been struggling and I have been calling on Ministers to help.

“The Prime Minister recognised the two-metre social distancing rule effectively made it impossible for the hospitality industry to operate and I thank him, and others, for relaxing it.

“I particularly thank Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston, who I have spoken to twice in the past few days, for listening and responding to me. I hope that he will now consider the other points I raised in my recent letter to him seeking further help for tourism-related businesses, including coach operators who do not yet have any specific guidance for their industry.  

“As the Prime Minister said - our long-time hibernation is beginning to come to an end. We need to make sure that tourism-related businesses are not left behind in the fight for survival against the Covid-19 virus and I will take all necessary steps to ensure they have the best possible support to enable them to succeed.

“The Island is a leading tourism destination in the UK and I don’t want us to lose that. Today, I have been in discussions with Will Myles from Visit IOW to see how we can help the Island’s tourism economy to move forward and help Island businesses as they take their first steps in welcoming back visitors. We must work together to ensure this happens in the safest way possible.”

Bob said he would continue to talk to the cross-Solent ferry operators to ensure they could meet the increase in demand for services.

The guidance published following the Prime Minister’s statement – including detailed manuals for (1) the visitor economy and (2) restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services – can now be found online here.