Johnson to confirm 19 July unlocking in England

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Boris Johnson to confirm 19 July unlocking in England with social distancing and restrictions on bar ordering scrapped

Related tags: Coronavirus, lockdown, Government, ukhospitality

Boris Johnson is expected to confirm the lifting of most remaining Covid-19 restrictions in England will go ahead on 19 July with social distancing and restrictions on bar ordering scrapped.

The Prime Minister will announce this afternoon (5 July) that he is confident the majority of the remaining Covid measures can be lifted in two weeks time.

Wearing face coverings will no longer be compulsory, and it is reported that hospitality businesses will no longer be required to collect customer details for track and trace.

The 'rule of six' on indoor gatherings and 'one metre plus' social distancing rule are both expected to be removed, as is the requirement for pubs and restaurants to only operate table service. And nightclubs will finally be able to reopen, having predominately remain closed since the start of the pandemic.

It is not clear at this time whether isolation rules that currently require anyone who comes into contact with someone who is infected to quarantine for 10 days will be removed, although the Government is understood to be currently piloting an alternative that would replace self-isolation with daily testing.

The Telegraph​reports that masks, table service and the rule of six will likely continue in some hospitality venues after July 19.

“There's going to be customers who are expecting everything to fall away and there's going to be places that they won't be able to do that,” says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UKHospitality.

She expects most pubs would remove the requirement to wear masks, especially if customers are allowed to stand at the bar, but adds that other businesses would be within their rights to enforce their use with more reticent customers.

“If you do feel confident, you're very happy to go to a pub that is crowded, it's showing football and people are standing up, and if you are a more reticent consumer then you're going to look for ones where it's table service.

“You'll have that sort of made apparent through a lot of customer websites.”

Nicholls has also warned some local councils could try to force hospitality businesses to be more strict with the rules.

“I think there might be a temptation of local authorities, that needs to be resisted, to put in place actual fixed regulations or rules that are more restrictive than they need to be.”

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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