Boris Johnson announces two metre rule can drop to one metre from July 4

Boris Johnson has announced a change in the two metre social distancing rule from July 4, and he has confirmed hospitality businesses can reopen from this date. 

He said: "Where it is not possible to keep two metres this can drop to one metreplus, while also taking additional measures to keep safe.

"We can now go further and safely ease the lockdown in England."

He said today the Government was publishing a document of guidance to reduce the risk by taking certain steps. These include avoiding face-to-face seating, reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces, using safety screens, installing hand sanitiser and also changing shift patterns for staff so that staff work in the same teams. 

From July 4 pubs and restaurants will be allowed to open indoors and outdoors if they put in safety guidelines including table service. 

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “The opening up of our pubs, bars and restaurants comes as a huge relief to the businesses who were forced to shut down overnight and left in limbo since the start of lockdown. This includes the wine and spirit suppliers who have not been given the same access to business rate holidays and loans as the pubs and restaurants despite the sudden loss of their income.

"It is right that opening up comes with some caution in order to protect the public and ensure that we don’t end up with a second spike putting us back to square one. We look forward to seeing the government’s guidance, including the additional mitigation measures for social distancing that is less than two metres.

"This welcome news does not mean that the hospitality sector and their suppliers are no longer in need of Government support. Recovery from the loss of trade over the last few months will mean that some businesses will not be able to open immediately or fully and others will take years to get themselves back on an even keel.”

James Calder, SIBA Chief Executive said: "The Prime Minister's announcement today is what the nation has been waiting for. But hundreds of brewers and thousands of pubs are still on the precipice. Many will struggle with table service only when ordering from a bar can be done safely.”

“Beer sales will not return to normal levels anytime soon, so the UK’s brewers need a continued support package and a clear roadmap for how they will be financially supported. Government has failed to meet its own timetable, and failed to support brewers in the same way the rest of hospitality has been. Whilst today’s news is a positive step, we have a lot more work to do yet.”

Johnson said close proximity venues such as nightclubs will need to remain closed for now. The Government is working on how to help these businesses to open. 

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