BORIS Johnson will unlock lockdown Britain — by announcing social distancing is to be cut to one metre from July 4.
No 10 hopes it will kickstart the stalled economy by allowing pubs, restaurants, hotels, hairdressers and cinemas to reopen.
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Meanwhile families and friends will be allowed to visit each other’s homes and stay overnight for the first time since restrictions were imposed on March 23.
Officials were last night still ironing out the details of the PM’s announcement.
But Government sources said the new rules would likely allow people from different households to mix indoors as long as they remain socially distanced.
Hugging and other body contact is expected to remain banned.
The move is likely to be similar to new Northern Ireland rules which will allow six people to meet indoors from tomorrow.
The PM will also give the green light for hotels and B&Bs to reopen from July 4.
Cutting social distancing by half will be a lifeline to the economy’s hospitality sector, among the hardest hit by lockdown.
But pubs and restaurants will have to adhere to extremely strict rules, including compulsory masks, perspex screens on tables and spaced seating.
Pub and bar-goers may have to hand over contact details on arrival so they can be swiftly traced by public health officials if there is a virus outbreak.
Customers may be asked for ID when they order food or drink at pubs and restaurants so their details can be recorded.
The PM’s announcement will come after Britain had the lowest daily death toll since mid-March and the number of new cases dropped to below 1,000 for the first time since lockdown.
Downing Street confirmed last night that cinemas, museums and art galleries will be among venues allowed to reopen from July 4.
They will need to implement one-way systems, spaced queueing, increased ventilation and pre-booked tickets.
The Sun Says
OUR July 4 Covid “independence day” should of course be a massive celebration.
So let’s all raise a glass in a pub . . . after giving our names, addresses and mobile numbers to the staff before we sit back-to-back at a table screened off from the next by Perspex.
Don’t get us wrong. The Sun is right behind getting our pubs and restaurants open. We just fear they’ll have become such alien, impersonal places.
Keeping a one-metre distance, minimising physical contact, wearing masks more routinely and ventilating the pub as much as possible would surely restore a more normal experience safely but without wrecking a venue’s atmosphere.
But let’s not be too critical. If we can see more of our friends and family from Saturday week, fantastic. If shielders can be…