Boris Johnson ends lockdown by reopening pubs, slashing 2m rule and allowing overnight stays from July 4
BORIS Johnson today dramatically announced the end of most of the lockdown measures in England – slashing the 2m rule, allowing sleepovers and reopening pubs on July 4.
The PM has told the nation today that the country will be open for business once again from July 4, with a whole raft of new freedoms for people to enjoy.
Boris has announced he will cut down the 2m rule to 1 metre plus and reopen other parts of the economy[/caption]
Hotels, pubs, libraries, hairdressers and even caravan sites will be able to open from next month – but you can only use them with one other household.
But gyms, spas and nightclubs will remain shut as they still pose too much of a risk.
In a major update today, Boris announced:
- He was slashing the 2m rule down to ‘1m plus’
- Staycations from July 4 got the green light as hotels and bed and breakfasts were told they could reopen
- Pubs will also reopen from July 4 – but only one household can go inside with another and new measures will be in place
- After three long months Brits will finally be able to get a haircut
- But nail salons, gyms and nightclubs will remain closed for now
- People will be allowed to see one other household inside – but they must still keep their distance
- And sleepovers are finally allowed from July 4
- Full list of all businesses allowed to reopen
He told the House of Commons: “Today, we can say that our long national hibernation is beginning to come to an end.
“Slowly but surely, these measures will restore a sense of normality.
“After the toughest restrictions in peacetime history, we are now able to make life easier for people to see more of their friends and families.
“And to help businesses get back on their feet and get people back into work.”
The PM delivered the much-needed dose of good news a day after Britain recorded the lowest daily death toll since mid-March, with just 15 deaths recorded on Sunday.
And the number of new cases dropped to below 1,000 for the first time since lockdown began on March 23.
Officials said they were only able to make such changes because of the huge progress that had been made in the last few weeks.
The number of new infections is now declining by between 2 and 4 percent every day, the PM said.
Four weeks ago, an average of 1 in 400 people in the community in England had COVID-19, but in the first half of June, this figure was 1 in 1,700.
“We do not believe there is currently a risk of a second peak of infections that might overwhelm the NHS,” he added.
But he stressed that the “virus has not gone away” and data will continue to be monitored, adding: “There will be flare ups for which local measures will be needed and we will not hesitate to apply the brakes and reintroduce restrictions, even at national level, if required.
“So I urge everyone to stay alert, control the virus and save lives.
2m rule to be reduced to 1m
After a review ordered by the PM, he said today that the 2m rule will be cut down to 1m plus.
This means anyone who wants to get down to below 2m will have to take extra precautions – such as using a perspex screen, wearing a mask, or being outdoors to reduce the risk.
Boris told the Commons: “Given the significant fall in the prevalences of the virus we can change the 2m social distance rule from 4th of July
“I know this rule makes it impossible for other parts of the economy.”
The news will be a sigh of relief to the hospitality industry, who have long warned they won’t be able to survive with people having to stay 2m apart, and thus having fewer people in their venues.
Pubs, cafes and restaurants open
Boris also confirmed that all pubs, restaurants and cafes can open again from July 4 – in a major boost for the nation’s morale.
But they will be very different when they do return.
This will include requiring people to wear masks, perspex screens on tables, alternative seating arrangements and punters at pubs and bars could have to sign a guest book with their contact details on arrival so they can be traced if there is an outbreak of the virus.
And the Government will be introducing a new law this week to allow them to serve drinks outdoors in a major shake-up of licensing laws to help businesses through the coronavirus crisis.
That means more places could be able to serve bevvies outside to thirsty Brits to help them through the summer months.
Boris encouraged people to “do their patriotic best for Britain” and head to the pubs when they reopen on July 4.
Tory Gareth Johnson (Dartford) said: “Going to the pub is a great British institution and vital if we want to get our economy back on track.
“Would the Prime Minister therefore join me in calling on people from July 4 to do their patriotic best for Britain and go to the pub?”
Mr Johnson replied: “Yes, I do encourage to take advantage of the freedoms that they are rightly reacquiring, but I must stress that people should act in a responsible way.
“And I know that that is where the public are. I know that is what people want to see.”
Cinemas, museums and art galleries to return
Downing Street confirmed last night that cinemas, museums and art galleries will be among a raft of venues allowed to reopen from July 4.
They will need to meet new Covid-safety measures such as one-way systems, spaced queueing, increased ventilation and pre-booked tickets.
The Government will issue sector-specific guidance to ensure the public remain safe.
Visiting friends and family is on – but you may have to stay 2m away
Millions of families and friends will be allowed to visit each other’s homes for the first time in months.
Hugging and other body contact is not allowed under the plans but people will be allowed to stay at each other’s homes overnight.
It means families will be able to visit loved ones – although only 2 households can combine at any one time.
It does mean that families could visit one set of grandparents one night, then visit another set of grandparents the following day.
At the moment only single people are allowed to form a household bubble with another house – and can hug, stay overnight and visit each other.
Holidays & staycations get green light
The PM also today gave the greenlight for Brits to book staycations from July 4 by allowing hotels and B&Bs to reopen.
All but essential travel has been banned for the last three months abroad.
But the news means people can start booking a well-earned holiday.
People to be able to get a haircut
Shaggy-haired Brits will be able to get a professional cut from July 4 after weeks of DIY disasters, Boris also said.
All hairdressers will be required to wear full-face plastic visors to reduce the risk of infection.
There will also be strict rules about disinfecting equipment.
Customers will only be allowed in by appointment and there will be a limit on numbers.
Gyms & pools stay shut
Gyms and swimming pools have to stay shut, however.
Government scientists say they are still posing a risk and could spread coronavirus easily.
Insiders said they hopes to come to a solution within weeks.
Gigs and concerts are also banned unless they are being live streamed due to the risk of people singing and passing on the virus.
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Downing Street insisted ministers “will not hesitate” to reimpose controls if the spread of the virus picks up again.
A No 10 source said: “We are only able to move forward this week because the vast majority of people have taken steps to control the virus.
“But the more we open up, the more important it is that everyone follows the social-distancing guidelines.
“We will not hesitate to reverse these steps if it is necessary to stop the virus running out of control.”
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