Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under pressure from one of his own MPs to reopen outdoor pub beer gardens before next month as the number of coronavirus cases appears to be declining.
From Monday, non-essential shops in England will be able to reopen as long as they can comply with social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.
During Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, he explained the government is “sticking to our plan” to reopen outdoor hospitality no earlier than July 4.
Conservative Waveney MP Peter Aldous said that allowing zoos to reopen from Monday was “very good news as it provides them with a realistic chance of survival.”
Mr Aldous asked him: “Would the Prime Minister give full consideration to allowing beer gardens to also reopen from 15 June as the feedback which I’m receiving is that many pubs are now facing the unpalatable and unwanted prospect of having to make staff redundant?”
Responding during PMQs, Mr Johnson said it was “very important that people understand the continuing risks that this country faces” adding: “We want to reopen hospitality as quickly as we possibly can.
“The House will remember that according to the road map, we were going to open outdoor hospitality no earlier than July 4.
“That is still the plan, we are sticking to our plan. So guidance is now being developed for such hospitality.”
During last night’s Downing Street briefing, the Business Secretary Alok Sharma insisted that two-metre social distancing will remain in place in the UK, despite other countries having different rules.
Mr Johnson told PMQs the two-metre socially distancing rule is “under review”.
Responding to SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, Mr Johnson said: “I believe that those measures, the two-metre rule, need now be kept under review.
“As we drive this disease down, as we get the incidence down, working together, I want to make sure we keep that two-metre rule under constant review.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said this week that she is “optimistic” at the next review of restrictions on June 18 that Scotland will be “able to move, at least in part into the next phase” of its route out of lockdown.
Moving into phase two in Scotland could allow pubs and restaurants to open outdoor spaces, and smaller stores may also be able to reopen for business, with physical distancing and hygiene measures in place.
In Northern Ireland, larger stores with street entrances were permitted to reopen from Monday, while the economy minister Diane Dodds has indicated plans to allow smaller retail stores to reopen from Friday.
Yesterday, there were 286 UK deaths announced by the Department of Health and Social Care, a considerable increase on the 55 deaths reported on Monday.