Boris Johnson unveiled the latest step today in opening up the economy in England from the coronavirus lockdown with changes due to come into effect a week on Saturday. What will you be able to do then that you cannot do now? And what restrictions remain in place?
What is going to reopen on July 4?
Most of the places ordered to close in March can reopen next month as long as they take precautions against coronavirus. Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés will be allowed to reopen their doors, as will museums, galleries and cinemas.
Will I need to keep a two-metre distance?
No. The government is launching a concept called “one-metre plus”. This means that you will be able to be in scenarios where you cannot keep two metres apart as long as there are mitigating factors involved. Therefore you can be one metre apart from someone on a train or bus — but you will have to wear a facemask. In restaurants and pubs mitigating factors could include screens between tables or ensuring people are back to back.
Can I invite friends to my house?
Yes. You can invite people from one other household into your home at one time as long as you stay two metres apart. But there are no limits on the number of households you can meet as long as they don’t all come at once. So you could invite one set of grandparents one weekend and the other set of grandparents the following weekend. However you could not have both sets of grandparents around at the same time.
Will people be allowed to stay overnight?
Yes, but again, only people from one other household at any one time.
If I break these rules will I have committed a crime?
No. The government has changed the basis of the rules so that they are now guidance rather than legally enforceable rules. Nevertheless, Mr Johnson urged people to continue to follow them.
Will I be able to go to a pub or restaurant with friends?
Yes, but pubs will only be allowed to provide table service so there will be no standing at the bar for the foreseeable future and numbers will be strictly limited. If you are sitting indoors, you can only meet members of one other household.
Will I have to give my name and contact details?
Yes. You will have to give your details on arrival and they will be kept in case someone is later identified as having Covid-19. In such circumstances the details will be passed to the NHS test and trace service.
What else will be different?
Wherever people are seated fewer than two metres apart, pubs and restaurants will have to install Perspex screens and arrange tables so that people are facing away from each other.
What about going on holiday?
Hotels, B&Bs, holiday lets and even campsites will also be allowed to re-open on July 4 and people will be able to spend the night outside their permanent residence for the first time, allowing those with second homes to use them for the first time.
You can stay in the same holiday home as people from one other household, but no more.
Can I get a haircut?
Yes. Hairdressers will be allowed to reopen from July 4.
Will gyms and swimming pools reopen?
No. The government has ordered indoor gyms, play areas and all swimming pools to stay shut. The concern is that they involve lots of energetic activity and people touching the same surfaces, increasing the risk of transmitting the virus.
What about cinemas, theatres and concert halls?
These can all reopen but live performances are still banned and the government is particularly concerned that singing risks spreading the infection. For now, theatres and concert halls will be allowed to screen past performances while serving food and drink.
Will places of worship resume services?
Yes, mass worship will be allowed but singing is still banned. Numbers are likely to be limited, however, to ensure social distancing.
Can I get married and have a reception?
Technically you can — but it will be very limited. You will only be able to invite one family outside your own household in line with restrictions on normal gatherings. However, government sources said they were looking to see if this could be modified.
What will remain closed?
Nightclubs, bowling alleys and skating rinks will still be closed, as will beauty salons, nail bars and massage parlours, where maintaining even a one-metre social distance is impossible.
Is there a date when these places can reopen?
Not yet. Mr Johnson said he was working with businesses to allow the remaining closed venues to be opened as soon as possible but would not put a date on it. The government has suggested that some sectors that have been ordered to remain closed could be allowed to reopen within weeks.
What are the rules on outdoor gatherings?
These haven’t changed. Six people from six different households can meet outside at the same time. Two households, regardless of how many people are in them, will also be able to meet. However two-metre social distancing will remain in place.
Can I be prosecuted if I break the new rules?
Bars, restaurants and other venues allowed to open will be obliged to follow the new rules, however the prime minister said the rules on who you could meet in your own home would be “guidance” rather than underpinned by legal rules. He warned, however, that if people did not follow their common sense then it could lead to a new spike in the virus and these new relaxations would be the first things to go in a potential new lockdown.
What is allowed to open
Hotels, hostels, bed-and-breakfast accommodation, holiday apartments or homes, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks or boarding houses
Places of worship
Restaurants, cafés and workplace canteens
Theatres and concert halls (as guidance dictates no live performances)
Museums and galleries
Hair salons and barbers
Funfairs, theme parks and adventure parks and activities
Outdoor skating rinks
Other indoor leisure centres or facilities, including indoor games, recreation and entertainment venues
Indoor attractions at aquariums, zoos, safari parks, farms, wildlife centres and any place where animals are exhibited to the public as an attraction
What is not allowed to open?
Bowling alleys and indoor skating rinks
Indoor play areas, including soft-play
Nail bars and beauty salons
Massage, tattoo and piercing parlours
Indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities
Swimming pools and water parks
Exhibition or conference centres where they are to be used for exhibitions or conferences, other than for those who work for that venue
Source: The Times 23.06.20