Boris Johnson plans to announce loosening of two-metre rule

PUBLISHED: 08:42 22 June 2020 | UPDATED: 08:42 22 June 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, alongside Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty (left) and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance (right), during a press conference at Downing Street. Photograph: Alberto Pezzali/PA.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, alongside Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty (left) and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance (right), during a press conference at Downing Street. Photograph: Alberto Pezzali/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Boris Johnson is set to outline the plans to parliament for pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers to reopen in England from July 4, and a likely loosening of the distance rule to aid the restart to the economy.

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Johnson and his most senior ministers will meet on Monday discuss the next steps for the lockdown with chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty.

The prime minister will then on Tuesday outline the plans to Parliament for pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers to reopen in England from July 4, and a likely loosening of the distance rule to aid the restart to the economy.

The PM has said the progress made in the fight against coronavirus during three months of lockdown mean “it will be possible to open up more”.

“The disease is increasingly under control and I just want people to reflect on that important fact,” he added in a Downing Street interview.


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Guidance will be published for each sector on how businesses can reduce the spread of Covid-19 when they reopen.

And the public are expected to be warned that the newest relaxation of rules will be the first to be reversed if there are widespread breaches that prompt the virus to spread uncontrollably.

A No 10 spokesman said: “The reason we are able to move forward this week is because the vast majority of people have taken steps to contain the virus.

“The more we open up, the more important it is that everyone follows the social-distancing rules.

“We will not hesitate to put the handbrake on to stop the virus running out of control.”

With the two-metre rule placing severe constraints on the hospitality sector, it looks increasingly likely to be reduced as long as other mitigations - such as face coverings - can be used to help prevent a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said Labour would support a reduction of the two-metre rule “under certain circumstances”, including the strengthening of other protections such as masks.

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