/Johnson to announce 4 July re-openings on Tuesday

Johnson to announce 4 July re-openings on Tuesday

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Boris Johnson will announce his plans in Parliament on Tuesday

Boris Johnson will announce on Tuesday which businesses can re-open on 4 July and the outcome of a review into the 2m social distancing rule, says No 10.

The PM will discuss England’s approach to the two issues with the Covid-19 Strategy Committee on Monday.

On Tuesday, he will consult cabinet on any changes, before updating Parliament on the next steps of lockdown easing.

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

Earlier, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he “very much hopes” the 2m rule can be lowered with “mitigations” to cut the risk of transmission.

Labour’s shadow health secretary, Jon Ashworth, said his party were “prepared to look at [the proposals] carefully”, but their support would depend on other mitigations being introduced.

Mr Johnson said earlier that the government was “sticking like glue” to the roadmap it announced for England in May.

In phase two, at the start of June, the plan allowed the opening of non-essential retail and the return of more pupils to school.

When the PM announced the roadmap, he said phase three would allow for some pubs, restaurants, cinemas and other hospitality venues to re-open at the start of July “at the earliest”.

2m or not 2m?

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 would be unable to open otherwise.

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

The other nations of the UK are yet to announce any plans to change the 2m distance rule.

No 10 said “detailed guidance” would be published for each sector “so businesses that do open can be Covid-secure” as part of any announcement.

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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”.

He will also reiterate pledges to use the NHS Test and Trace system to detect and control local outbreaks through “targeted lockdowns”.

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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