UK Politics

Coronavirus: PM to announce on Tuesday if pubs can reopen

Boris Johnson Image copyright Wiktor Szymanowicz/Getty Images
Image caption Boris Johnson will announce his plans in Parliament on Tuesday

亚搏体育网站Boris Johnson is expected to announce on Tuesday if the hospitality sector can reopen on 4 July, and that the 2m distancing rule in England will be relaxed, with some conditions.

Non-essential shops have reopened in England already, with retail resuming in Wales from today.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said England is "clearly on track" to further ease lockdown restrictions.

But No 10 warned the moves would be reversed if they led to a virus surge.

The PM discussed England's approach to the changes with the Covid-19 Strategy Committee on Monday, ahead of an announcement in Parliament on Tuesday.

亚搏体育网站Mr Johnson is also expected to announce a reduction in the 2m social distancing rule to 1m, with some mitigating measures.

The change to the rule, which follows a government review亚搏体育网站, is expected to come into effect on 4 July.

Ministers are also expected to bring forward legislation this week aiming to help businesses cope with social distancing requirements.

亚搏体育网站The PM's spokesman said the Business and Planning Bill would help firms "adjust to new ways of working, and help them capitalise on the summer months".

Labour MPs have called for ministers to be transparent on the findings of the 2m rule review.

Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth has said the party's support would depend on mitigations being introduced on face-shielding, and testing and tracing.

Science 'has evolved'

亚搏体育网站Earlier Security Minister James Brokenshire said the 2m rule review would be informed by scientific evidence but also "experience around the world as well".

He told BBC Breakfast it was also important to recognise the importance of other factors on safety, such as whether people are indoors or outside, or whether they are wearing face coverings.

He added that the review would also take into account the latest understanding of how the virus is transmitted, which "has evolved over the last number of weeks".

Mr Hancock has suggested that customers may have to register when entering pubs and bars so they can easily be traced if they come into contact with a coronavirus case.

亚搏体育网站Asked on Sunday about plans for registration and ordering drinks through smartphone apps, he said: "I wouldn't rule it out. It isn't a decision we've taken yet, but there are other countries in the world that take that approach."

He added that he "very much hoped" the 2m rule can be lowered, with "mitigations" to cut the risk of transmission.

亚搏体育网站The government has come under pressure from the hospitality sector to lower the rule, with many saying it would be impossible to trade under the current restrictions.

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Media captionThe UK government is advising us to stay two metres apart - but what does that look like?

2m or not 2m?

亚搏体育网站Some Tory MPs and members of the hospitality sector have been appealing to the government to lower the 2m rule to 1m, as many venues say they would be unable to open otherwise.

亚搏体育网站The World Health Organization recommends a distance of at least 1m (just over 3ft), but the UK government's scientific advisers say that distance carries up to 10 times the risk of being 2m apart.

亚搏体育网站The other nations of the UK are yet to announce any plans to change the 2m distance rule.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has asked scientific advisors to review the circumstances in which it might be reduced alongside "additional mitigations".

In Northern Ireland, where hotels, bars, restaurants and cafes are set to reopen from 3 July, Economy Minister Diane Dodds has said she is open to changing it.

A change has also not been ruled out in Wales - where First Minister Mark Drakeford said he would support a reduction if Welsh advisers said it was safe.

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Media captionBoris Johnson said the government was "sticking like glue" to its roadmap

In his speech on Tuesday, the PM is expected to warn the public they must continue to follow social distancing guidelines to "keep the coronavirus under control".

亚搏体育网站He will also reiterate pledges to use the NHS Test and Trace system to detect and control local outbreaks through "targeted lockdowns".

亚搏体育网站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."

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