Prime minister relaxes social distancing to one metre where two metres cannot be observed

Time 1 year ago

The prime minister has relaxed the social distancing rules to one metre from two as he looks to get the economy moving again.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Parliament that where two metres cannot be observed, one metre should be maintained.

Hotels, restaurants, pubs, cinemas and hairdressers can reopen from July 4 providing they are ‘Covid-secure’ and theatres and concert halls can open but cannot stage live performances.

People will be allowed to stay overnight at hotels, B&Bs and campsites and two households are also allowed to meet in any settings inside or out from July 4.

Nightclubs, indoor gyms and beauty salons must remain closed ‘for now’ Johnson said.

The prime minister said the two-metre rule will be reduced to ‘one metre-plus’ from July 4.

He told the Commons: ‘Given the significant fall in the prevalence of the virus we can change the two-metre social distancing rule from July 4.

‘Where it is possible to keep two metres apart, people should.

‘But where it is not, we will advise people to keep a social distance of one metre-plus, meaning they should remain one metre apart while taking mitigations to reduce the risk of transmission.’

Car Dealer reported at the weekend that the relaxation in the social distancing rules could mean accompanied test drives will be allowed again. Many dealers have struggled to allow test drives unaccompanied as they haven’t been able to get insurance.

The moves will also allow the car auction and logistics industry to work smarter and get back to speed quicker. There are concerns among dealers that they can’t get hold of stock quickly enough because social distancing restrictions are hampering these businesses.

Commenting on the news restaurants and pubs will be allowed to reopen, Johnson added: ‘I can tell the House that we will also reopen restaurants and pubs. All hospitality indoors will be limited to table service and our guidance will encourage minimal staff and customer contact.

‘We will ask businesses to help NHS Test and Trace respond to any local outbreaks by collecting contact details from customers as happens in other countries and we will work with the sector to make this manageable.’

And on hairdressers being allowed to cut hair again, the PM said staff would need to wear visors.

Johnson said: ‘Almost as eagerly awaited as a pint will be a haircut, particularly by me, and so we will reopen hairdressers with appropriate precautions, including the use of visors.

‘We also intend to allow some other close contact services such as nail bars to reopen as soon as we can when we are confident that they can operate in a Covid-secure way.

‘From July 4, provided that no more than two households stay together, people will be free to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation including hotels and bed and breakfasts, as well as camp sites, as long as shared facilities are kept clean.’

The PM added: ‘The number of new infections is now declining by between 2% and 4% every day.

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‘Four weeks ago an average of one in 400 people in the community in England had Covid-19, in the first half of June this figure was one in 1,700.

‘We created a human shield around the NHS and in turn our doctors and nurses have protected us, and together we have saved our hospitals from being overwhelmed.’

Johnson said ‘wraparound care’ for school-age children and formal childcare will ‘restart over the summer’, adding in the Commons: ‘Primary and secondary education will recommence in September with full attendance and those children who can already go to school should do so because it is safe.’

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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