THESE are perilous times indeed for the hospitality industry.

Despite the glorious recent spring weather helping to boost the depleted coffers of venues with the type of outdoor space which allowed them to reopen earlier this month, it is estimated that 60 per cent of businesses have remained closed.

Many are waiting for the next step of the easing of restrictions, which should allow for indoor drinking and dining from May 17.

There are very real fears that any delay to that date would push licensees over the edge for good, and although the Government’s support offered so far is welcome, huge anxiety remains.

As Debbie Di Giorgio of the Three Tuns in Osmotherley told the D&S Times this week: “We just don’t know what is going to happen after the last year, but we are hoping for the best.”

Anecdotally, beer gardens and outdoor dining spaces have been busy, but the fact that just seven Covid-related fines were issued by North Yorkshire Police between April 12 and 18 would suggest that most venues – and patrons – are sticking to the rules still in place.

As the vaccination rollout continues, and hopefully, Covid rates stay low – and fall even further – in the coming days and weeks, it is more important that ever that we support our hospitality venues.

Of course, all social distancing measures must be adhered to, but the time is coming that unless we use our local eateries, and watering holes, we will lose them for good.