The head of a business council in the South West is calling on the Government to create an extra bank holiday in a bid to help hospitality businesses that will still be closed under restrictions at Easter.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his route out of lockdown on Monday, but holiday lets, pubs and restaurants will only be able to open outdoors on April 12 at the earliest – a week after the Easter weekend.

Tim Jones, chairman of South West Business Council, says there is widespread expectation the Government will announce support packages in the Budget on March 3, but the Government could help the hospitality, leisure and tourism sector by creating another bank holiday.

“There is potential for some more initiatives, until we are at the point where we are fully up and running again,” he said. “In one case an additional bank holiday, if we are going to lose Easter, would bring an injection of cash to the South West.”

Mr Jones also said the Government must make sure a fourth lockdown never happens.

“This road map is not a surprise to the business community; we expected April and May would be the target dates,” he said. “But it does provide a degree of certainty. The yo-yo effect has been difficult to manage for businesses, going in and out of lockdown. And lockdown four would be unthinkable.”

He said businesses would rather wait for the vaccine programme to provide enough protection so they could open for good, than end lockdown early and face another period of inactivity.

“Most businesses in leisure, retail, tourism and hospitality are saying they would prefer certainty and not return to lockdown, or a tiered system, which did not work,” he added.

Although there is no extra bank holiday currently planned for 2021, there will be one next year to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee (70 years on the throne).

It is the first time any British monarch has reached this historic milestone and the Government has announced an extra bank holiday in celebration.

The May bank holiday weekend in 2022 will be moved to Thursday, June 2, and there will be an extra bank holiday on Friday, June 3, to create a four-day weekend instead.

Bank holidays in England and Wales in 2021

2 April

Friday

Good Friday

5 April

Monday

Easter Monday

3 May

Monday

Early May bank holiday

31 May

Monday

Spring bank holiday

30 August

Monday

Summer bank holiday

27 December

Monday

Christmas Day (substitute day)

28 December

Tuesday

Boxing Day (substitute day)

Do you think the Government should create an extra bank holiday weekend in 2021 to replace Easter? Share your thoughts in the comments section below