Boris Johnson set to announce more lockdown changes - including pubs reopening

Boris Johnson will discuss reopening the hospitality sector and loosening the two-metre social-distancing rule in England with his top Cabinet colleagues and scientists today.

Monday, 22nd June 2020, 11:52 am

The Prime Minister and his most senior ministers will discuss the next steps for lockdown easing, with chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty.

He will outline the plans to Parliament tomorrow for pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers to reopen in England from July 4, and a likely loosening of the social distancing rule.

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Screen grab of Prime Minister Boris Johnson - PA Video/PA Wire

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Yesterday, the PM said the progress made in the fight against coronavirus during three months of lockdown mean ‘it will be possible to open up more’.

“The disease is increasingly under control and I just want people to reflect on that important fact,” he said.

Guidance will be published for each sector on how businesses can reduce the spread of Covid-19 when they reopen.

And the public are expected to be warned that the newest relaxation of rules will be the first to be reversed if there are widespread breaches that prompt the virus to spread uncontrollably.

A No 10 spokesman said: “The reason we are able to move forward this week is because the vast majority of people have taken steps to contain the virus.

“The more we open up, the more important it is that everyone follows the social-distancing rules.

“We will not hesitate to put the handbrake on to stop the virus running out of control.”

With the two-metre rule placing severe constraints on the hospitality sector, it looks increasingly likely to be reduced as long as other mitigations - such as face coverings - can be used to help prevent a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said England is ‘clearly on track’ to further ease the lockdown.

He gave perspex screens, masks and altered seating arrangements as examples of measures to mitigate the risk of spreading coronavirus if the two-metre rule is relaxed.

And he floated the idea that punters at pubs and bars could have to sign a guest book with their names and contact details so they could be swiftly traced if they come into contact with an infection.