Prime minister rolls back lockdown measures as social distancing rules reduced to one metre
Lockdown measures in England have been further rolled back, including the reopening of more sectors of the economy and a significant change in social distancing, as part of the next phase in the country’s economic recovery.
Highlighting that the updated measures come as cases and fatalities continue to decline in the community, the prime minister said that he doesn’t believe there is “currently a risk of a second peak of infections that might overwhelm the NHS” as the government continues to meet the five tests for easing lockdown.
Change in social distancing
Arguably the biggest announcement is the change in social distancing measures, changing from two-metres to one-metres in England from the 4th of July 2020.
For mobility retailers, the updated policy means measures taken to restrict the number of shoppers allowed onto premises at any one time can be increased.
The change will also come as welcome news to those dealers operating from smaller shops with less floor space who were significantly restricted by the two-metre rule.
Explaining that people should remain two metres apart if they can but if they cannot, prime minister Johnson explained a new “one-metre-plus” policy will be introduced where people can keep one metre or more apart, as long as other mitigating factors are followed – hand washing, face coverings on public transport, limiting face-to-face contact and being outdoors.
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has declared that the two-metre rule, however, will remain in place in Scotland.
Households can mix
Along with a change to social distancing rules, the PM informed the Commons that two different households can meet indoors together, however, reminded that households should continue to social distance whilst inside as this measure is not the same as the ‘household bubble’ rule.
In regards to outdoors, the government’s guidance remains that individuals from several households can come together in groups of up to six.
Hospitality and leisure industry allowed to open
From the 4th of July, hospitality and leisure venues including restaurants, pubs, hairdressers, outdoor gyms, playgrounds, cinemas, museums, libraries and galleries will reopen.
In addition, hotels, B&Bs and campsites will be permitted to reopen as well to the joy of retailers on England’s coasts and beaty spots.
Importantly, despite reopening, the way these venues operate will be a far cry from the way they did pre-lockdown.
Consumers can expect minimal contact with staff and indoor hospitality limited to table service.
Perhaps the biggest change, however, is the requirement for people to provide their contact details to leisure and hospitality venues for test & trace purposes.
Following the raft of lockdown easements announced, the prime minister warned people to expect “flare-ups” of the virus locally and added that the government will reapply restrictions nationally if required.