Prime minister Boris Johnson has announced a number of measures today aimed at easing out of lockdown and getting people back to work, including reducing 2m social distancing to 1m plus.
Following a review, the prime minister announced that where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’, which means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission.
Boris Johnson said that in the first half of May, 69,000 people tested positive whereas in the first half of June, this had reduced to just under 22,000. Therefore, as all five tests continue to be met, the government does not currently believe that there will be a second peak that might overwhelm the NHS and so restrictions could be eased.
”Where it is possible to keep 2m apart, people should. But where it is not, we advise that people should keep a social distance of 1m plus mitigations to reduce transmissions and we will publish guidance on how businesses can reduce risks and protect workers and customers such as reducing face to face contact and changing office layouts, reducing people in enclosed spaces, improving ventilation, introducing protective screens and face coverings and providing hand sanitiser,” said Boris Johnson.
As a result, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be open to re-open from 4 July in a bid to help businesses get back on their feet and people back into work, providing they adhere to COVID secure guidelines.
Two households will be able to meet in any setting so long as social distancing measures are met and a number of accommodation sites will reopen allowing people to go away.
Some leisure facilities and tourist attractions such as outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades may also reopen, if they can do so safely as well as libraries, social clubs, places of worship and community centres.
Close proximity venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools, water parks, bowling alleys and spas will need to remain closed for now to not increase the risk of transmission as the economy is re-booted.
People should continue to wear face masks when using public transport.
The government is continuing to work with these sectors to establish taskforces to help them to become COVID Secure and reopen as soon as possible.
While the infection rate continues to fall, the prime minister has made it clear that the public must continue to follow social distancing guidelines to keep coronavirus under control. The government will keep all measures under constant review and will not hesitate to apply the handbrake, or reverse measures, should the virus begin to run out of control.
”Each Step is conditional and reversible,” he concluded.