United Kingdom downgrades COVID-19 alert level, reopens businesses Tuesday

Wednesday, 24 Jun, 2020

The Cabinet will meet on Tuesday to officially rubber-stamp the decision to allow public venues, including theatres and businesses such as hairdressers, to reopen from July 4, effectively marking an end to the lockdown in what some British MPs have dubbed "Super Saturday". "But where it is not, we will advise people to keep a social distance of one metre plus", said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Current rules only allow groups of up to six people to meet outside.

So I am delighted that places of worship will be able to reopen for prayer and services - including weddings with a maximum of 30 people, all subject to social distancing'.

"10 days' notice to reopening is a practical impossibility for many and, with one-metre distancing, economically unviable for most".

Doug Russell, health and safety officer for shopworkers' union Usdaw, said changing the 2 metre social distancing guidance now would be costly, given the signage and markers that have been introduced in many stores.

Also set to reopen are restaurants, museums and cinemas - all of which have been shut since the United Kingdom went into lockdown on March 23.

But the large death toll means criticism over his handling of the pandemic - that Britain was too slow to impose a lockdown or protect the elderly in care home - is likely to persist.

Government figures revealed just 958 new cases were diagnosed on Sunday, although weekend statistics are often lower at the weekend.

Measures that are expected to be put into place include minimal face-to-face contact with customers required to pre-book tickets as well as the spaced queues, one way systems and different entrances and exits that we've become used to. However, she added that continued government support will remain crucial.

"Johnson said:" The more we open up, the more vigilant we'll need to be.

Coronavirus distance
A ‘Please stay 2 metres apart’ sign on Brighton beach – the Government has reduced the restriction to ‘one metre-plus

From July 4, more businesses, including restaurants, hotels, museums, pubs, libraries and community centres, will be allowed to reopen.

The measures announced by Johnson apply only in England.

Business cautiously welcomed the measures.

It was the first time in months that the country had recorded fewer than 1000 daily new infections.

But No10 played down the prospect of Sunday trading rules being relaxed to help shops recover from the crisis amid fears Tory backbenchers would defeat the plans.

While mental health campaigner Benny James said: "In my opinion gyms should be opening before pubs, this lockdown has been a struggle for a lot of people physically and mentally and lot of people wanna get back in the gym to better themselves".

Schools will fully re-open in September. However, hospitality and leisure sectors will continue to reopen slowly.

The England and Wales Cricket Broad later released a statement on Tuesday evening, which read: "The ECB along with the nation's cricket players are keen to see the imminent and safe return of our sport at recreational level and have been working hard with Government to achieve this".

Transport unions warned the relaxing of the two-metre rule on public transport could "significantly increase" the chance of infection and would make it "almost impossible" to enforce.

He said the measures were the "beginning of lifting the country out of hibernation" - but with caution.