UK is slowly, step by step, going back to normal. From 17th of May you can eat indoors again, and from 21st of June there will – hopefully – be no restrictions at all. We caught up with out UK ambassador to get her views on the reopening.
”I can’t wait for a long lunch somewhere resolutely indoors. A lock-in at Andrew Edmunds would be ideal,” says Star Wine List’s UK ambassador Ruth Spivey.
What's the mood in the UK right now?
”Everyone is creeping back out, with varying levels of enthusiasm. Understandable after all this time. There’s a keenness for so-called normality to return but equally no-one knows what that will look like. The vaccine roll out appears to be at least one thing that we’ve managed successfully, which is hopeful. Without a doubt people are excited to go out and meet friends inside, but I think what everyone (by which I mean me!) really wants is a holiday.”
The re-opening, is it step by step? How will it work, when will UK be fully open again?
”Every few weeks there’s something else we can do or a greater number of people who can gather. Don’t ask me what the steps are exactly though. They’re similar to the other steps we’ve had on this stay-at-home stairway to hell, but different enough to make them irritating to keep track of. Rule of six is back but different and I think you can have 15 people at something and 30 people at something else. From 17th May you can eat indoors but again only six people (‘cos the seventh always has Covid) and from 21st June, all being well, there will be no rules at all (apart from the law) and play can resume. Simple, see?”
I’ve heard of a couple of places that can’t re-open due to a lack of staff as opposed to a lack of customers
Are there many places that are closed, or have most of them survived?
”I haven’t done a head count of casualties but I’d say most have survived. Somehow. The dearth of staff seems to be the biggest issue. It’s always been an issue for hospitality in London, but it’s far worse now when a lot of EU residents have decided to head back to the promised EU land. Double whammy of Brexit X Covid. I’ve heard of a couple of places that can’t re-open due to a lack of staff as opposed to a lack of customers.”
Has there been any interesting new openings during the last year?
”Noble Rot Soho opened in September last year to anticipation and applause but sadly didn’t get much of a running start. Leroy launched a rotisserie chicken side hustle, Royale, that went down a storm delivering all over town and now has a permanent home in East London Liquor Co. Café Deco opened too (coming to Star Wine List soon) - a collaboration between chef Anna Tobias and natural wine importers Gergovie Wines (40 Maltby Street).”
What's the first wine place you're gonna visit after the re-opening?
”Well… on April 12th, when we could drink outside, I went straight to Passione Vino in Shoreditch (coming to Star Wine List soon) and drank Col Fondo, Sangiovese, coastal Cabernet and Valpolicella (not alone). No better place for unadulterated Italian joy. From 17th I’ll be delivering the certificates to the winners of the Star Wine List of the Year Awards 2021 and will be sure to have a glass at each one. And I can’t wait for a long lunch somewhere resolutely indoors. A lock-in at Andrew Edmunds would be ideal.”