Prime Minister confirms most lockdown restrictions in England should be lifted on 19 July
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Boris Johnson has provided a crucial update to the final stage of lockdown easing in England, with changes still set to go ahead as planned on 19 July.
Limits on social mixing indoors will be abolished, as will the long-standing advice to work from home where possible. Face masks will no longer be legally required in public spaces, though Brits may choose to continue wearing them if they wish. Prime Minister Johnson said he plans to continue wearing a face-covering in crowded places as a “courtesy”.
You will no longer need to keep a social distance from others, indoors, or outdoors.
Other changes currently on track in England from 19 July include the end of table service rules at bars and restaurants as well as check-ins using the much-criticised NHS Test and Trace app. There will be no limits at weddings and funerals, and nightclubs and large-scale events like music festivals can finally fully reopen after 16 months of tough capacity restrictions.
This confirmation is subject to one final review of health data on 12 July.
Any changes to international travel from 19 July will be announced later this week, though it is unlikely the traffic light system will end this month. It is hoped fully vaccinated arrivals from amber countries can skip quarantine from 19 July, essentially turning dozens of amber countries green for fully-jabbed Brits, though those expensive privately paid tests are likely to continue for some time.
Domestic travel should be largely back to normal on 19 July, should the current timeline remain unchanged.
Despite rising covid cases, especially amongst young people who have not yet been fully vaccinated, Johnson says the link between cases and deaths has been broken by the continued successfull rollout of the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 vaccine programme, where more than 50% of the population are now fully vaccinated.
The PM admitted that if England cannot reopen fully this summer, with the warm weather helping people stay outdoors, the country may never be able to open, so now is the time to take this important step.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will decide on their own changes to rules in due course.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called the decision “reckless” and has suggested masks continued to be used in enclosed spaces and on public transport.
Johnson had originally laid out the date of 21 June date during his February roadmap out of lockdown plan though this was then delayed by four weeks to 19 July. As part of that plan, England’s lockdown restrictions have gradually been lifting. To date, all of the deadlines have seen restrictions lift on schedule with this exception of 19 July’s final lifting of restrictions.
Since 17 May’s return to travel, the U.K. has implemented a traffic light system to categorise countries based on their risk level for COVID-19.
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