Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the House of Commons this afternoon, laying out his plans for a further relaxation of coronavirus restrictions in England from July 4th.

The Prime Minister said that the Government had conducted a review of the 2 metre social distancing rule over the last two weeks, and had concluded that from July 4th , where people could not maintain two metres’ distance they should adhere to a distance of “1 metre plus”. The “plus” consists of mitigation measures that people and businesses should take, including the use of protective screens, face masks and changing seating arrangements to prevent face-to-face contact. The Government is of the view that the level of protection afforded by these measures is “broadly the same” as maintaining a two-metre distance.

The Prime Minister also said that pubs, restaurants and accommodation businesses could reopen from 4th of July, with a number of mitigation measures in place. Pubs and restaurants will be limited to table service, and the Government will issue guidance on limiting staff numbers and contact with customers. Contact details of customers are to be taken to facilitate the Government’s Track and Trace programme, and the Government will work with sector to make this manageable. Accommodation businesses will be expected to regularly clean shared facilities.

Please see a full summary of the Prime Minister’s statement below. The NFFF will flag all relevant detailed guidance as it is published on the gov.uk website in the coming days.

Background

  • Relaxing restrictions is conditional on continued defeat of the virus
  • The number of new infections is declining by between 2% and 4% every day. Daily deaths peaked on 14th April.
  • The Government does not believe there is currently a risk of a second wave which would overwhelm the NHS.
  • The COVID alert level has been downgraded from 4 to 3 across the UK, meaning the virus is present in communities but is no longer spreading exponentially.
  • The Government can begin to safely ease lockdown in England but each step is conditional and reversible.
  • There will be flare-ups for which local measures will be needed and the Government will reintroduce restrictions, even at national level, if required.


Social distancing

  • The Government conducted a review of the 2 metre rule over the last two weeks and the guidance will change from July 4th.
  • The new social distancing rules will take the form of guidance, rather than legislation as had previously been the case.
  • Under the new guidance, people should maintain two metres where possible, but where that is not possible people will be advised to keep a distance of “1 metre plus”
  • People should maintain 1 metre’s distance, while people, businesses and other institutions should take mitigation measures, including the use of protective screens, face masks and changing seating arrangements to prevent face-to-face contact.
  • The Government said that the level of protection afforded by “1 metre plus” is broadly the same as at 2 metres.
  • From 4th July, two households of any size can meet in any setting inside or out. The guidance on meeting with people from several households in groups of up to six outside remains unchanged.


Business reopening

  • Pubs and restaurants shall reopen from July 4th, with a number of mitigation measures. All hospitality businesses will be limited to table service, and the Government will issue guidance on limiting staff numbers and contact with customers. Contact details of customers are to be taken to facilitate the Government’s Track and Trace programme, and the Government will work with sector to make this manageable.
  • Hairdressers will reopen with appropriate protections such as visors from July 4th.
  • People can stay in self-contained accommodation – e.g. B&Bs, hotels, campsites – provided shared spaces are kept clean.
  • Most leisure activities and tourist attractions will reopen if they can safely, for example outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museum, and other businesses.
  • Close proximity venues such as nightclubs, indoor gyms,, swimming pools and bowling allies will remain closed. The Business Secretary will establish taskforces to help these businesses become COVID-secure.


Public institutions reopening

  • Recreation and sport allowed, but indoor facilities including changing rooms will remain closed.
  • Places of worship will reopen for prayer and limited services.
  • Courts will increasingly resume face-to-face sessions.


Childcare and schooling

  • Wraparound care for school aged children will restart over the summer.
  • Primary and secondary education will recommence in September with full attendance.
  • Children who can already go to school should do so.