The prime minister has announced a reduction in the two-metre social distancing rule, as he gave the green light for pubs, restaurants, hotels, hairdressers and barbers in England to reopen from 4 July.
Setting out the latest easing of the coronavirus lockdown, Boris Johnson said the “national hibernation” is coming to an end and “life is returning to our streets”.
The PM said people will from next month be required to keep “one-metre plus” apart from others, while also taking measures to mitigate the risk of transmitting COVID-19.
Follow live updates as the PM announces latest lockdown changes
“Where it is possible to keep two metres apart, people should,” Mr Johnson said.
“But where it is not, we will advise people to keep a social distance of one-metre plus, meaning they should remain one metre apart while taking mitigating measures to reduce the risk of transmission.”
These include wearing a face mask on public transport, handwashing, screens, being outside and limiting time spent with others.
Another change to the guidelines from 4 July will allow gatherings of two different households indoors, provided social distancing is maintained.
This will mean families can be reunited and dinner parties will be allowed, but people will still be unable to hug their loved ones.
Theatres and concert halls can begin operating, but cannot stage live performances. People will also be able to stay overnight in hotels, bed and breakfasts and campsites.
Although a raft of businesses will be able to reopen in the weeks to come, Mr Johnson said nightclubs, indoor gyms and beauty salons must remain closed “for now”.
Spas, casinos, nail bars, tattoo parlours, massage parlours, soft play areas, swimming pools, bowling alleys and water parks will also not reopen at this stage.
As with non-essential shops, which began operating again earlier this month, premises that reopen will have to introduce a range of safety measures to ensure they are “COVID secure”.
Sector-by-sector guidance is due to be published for businesses, advising them what action they need to take to reopen safely.
Pubs and restaurants will have to take the names and contact details of customers, in case they have to be contacted as part of the government’s test and trace programme to contain the spread of the virus.
The announcement comes three months to the day since Mr Johnson took England into lockdown in order to try and halt the spread of COVID-19.
A total of 42,647 have so far died in the UK after testing positive for the virus, according to government figures.
After telling people to remain indoors – with a few exceptions – for more than six weeks, the PM set out a roadmap out of lockdown in May.
Since then, the restrictions have been eased as more parts of the economy have been given the green light to restart.
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