Boris Johnson has confirmed the 4 July as the reopening date for hospitality and has also announced a reduction in the two-metre social distancing rule.
In a speech in parliament this afternoon, the PM said the existing guidance on two metres’ social distancing “prevents all but a fraction of [the UK’s] hospitality industry from operating”, and that while it is still “recommended where possible”, the official guidance will be updated to recommend “one-metre-plus” where necessary, if “mitigations” such as face masks are used.
Guidance will encourage minimal staff and close contact in restaurant and pub settings, and in addition, all hospitality indoors will be limited to table service. Close-proximity venues, such as nightclubs, will “need to remain closed for now”.
Alongside traditional hospitality, cinemas, museums and art galleries, hotels and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen next month too.
Johnson said the government does not believe there is “currently a risk of a second peak of infections that might overwhelm the NHS”.
He added that due to this progress, the government can now “go further, and safely ease the lockdown in England”, but that each step of the eased lockdown will be “conditional and reversible”.
However, he said that the government did not want to see the virus “recapture ground which we may have vacated” as a result of softening restrictions, and that if it became necessary, he would reintroduce restrictions.