Boris Johnson announced a drastic reduction in social distance

Bars open in London for delivery and take-away orders (Reuters)
Bars open in London for delivery and take-away orders (Reuters)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday the passage of England to a new phase of lack of confidence on July 4 with the reopening of bars, restaurants, hotels, hairdressers, cinemas or museums and the authorization of weddings, as long as “mitigating” factors are applied.

In order for the gastronomy and tourism sectors to be reactivated with the arrival of summer, Johnson also announced before the deputies that the recommended distance between people will be reduced from two to one meter to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which gives the green light to many businesses that are unable to comply with the standard still in force.

“Given the significant drop in the prevalence of the virus we can change the two-meter social distancing rule from July 4,” Johnson said in the British Parliament.

The UK economy has been punished by confinement to stop the spread of COVID-19 and although non-essential businesses were allowed to reopen last week, many businesses, particularly in the hospitality and leisure sectors, have remained closed.

Boris Johnson (Reuters)
Boris Johnson (Reuters)

The changes will allow two acquaintances to meet in any setting, they can reopen hairdressers and places of worship, most leisure facilities and tourist attractions such as theme parks. However, nightclubs, indoor gyms, and swimming pools will remain closed.

Johnson said that all restrictions cannot be lifted at once and that people must remain vigilant and use common sense.

The government will impose on the movie theater or exhibitions that introduce physical distance measures such as one-way traffic, spaced queues, increased ventilation, and advance ticket reservation.

Restaurants or hotels will be asked to “collect customer contact information as is done in other countries” in order to locate them in the event of a covid-19 outbreak detection, Johnson explained to deputies. There will also be sanitary security measures in hairdressing salons and wedding they will not be able to gather more than 30 people, he stressed.

To be able to meet again family and friends, from July 4 the members of two different homes will be authorized to meet outdoors or indoors, and this will not be exclusive, that is, they may meet with other groups on other days.

The executive is also in contact with the sector of the live entertainment to find ways they can reopen “as soon as possible,” added the prime minister.

The measure, for now, would apply to England, as the UK has not kept pace with mistrust, with disagreements between its outlook on the coronavirus. As Johnson spoke in parliament, Premier Nicola Sturgeon clarified that Scotland would maintain the two-meter rule.

In Northern Ireland, hair salons will reopen on July 6; in Wales, it will be with previous appointments from 13; In Scotland, there is no date set yet.

The United Kingdom has greatly increased its ability to perform a covid-19 test in recent months, reaching 200,000 daily, which it now claims to carry out regularly in all nursing homes and has extended to the entire population. With one of the highest death rates in the world from COVID-19, but the number of cases has been decreasing in recent weeks.

Health authorities reported 15 deaths Monday, the lowest number since mid-March. The death toll peaked in April, when the number exceeded 1,000 for nine days.

(With information from AFP and Reuters)