The United Kingdom officially announced a more loosened restriction for Britain beginning July 4 as the government prepares to revive the ailing economy.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that safe distancing measures have been reduced to “over one metre” from two metres previously.
This means that areas where staying two metres away is impossible, the public should maintain at least more than a metre distance from each another.
The new changes were offset by the required regular sanitation and the use of masks and protective screens especially on public transport and other cramped areas.
Meanwhile, businesses such as pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres for non-live performances, hotels, holiday homes, museums, funfairs, campsites, hairdressers, and outdoor playgrounds have been allowed to resume operations.
Night clubs, bowling alleys, gyms, soft play centres, nail bars, swimming pools, and music venues remained closed.
While the prime minister admitted that social distancing in pubs and the hospitality sector will be a challenge, the government will require diners to avoid face-to-face seating and adjust time shifts of staff and have them work in team.
Al Jazeera quoted Johnson as telling the House of Commons that the UK’s long hibernation has officially “come to an end.”
“Life is returning to our streets and to your shops. The bustle is starting to come back, and a new but cautious optimism is palpable,” he said, adding that he would trust the British public “to use their common sense in full knowledge of the risks.”
“The more we open up, the more vigilant we will need to be,” Johnson said.
Other states excluded
Other countries such as Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland will have their own measures.
In Scotland alone, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the two-metre social distancing rule will be kept in place.
The plan was met with opposition from groups, but Johnson said that authorities will be in a “much better position now to control those outbreaks.”
Separately, Opposition Labour head Keir Starmer said that the party supported the government’s decision to loosen restrictions and believed that it was trying to do the right thing.
For the first time since mid-March, the UK saw its lowest record of coronavirus-related death toll with just 15 deaths in one day, according to the health ministry.
The UK has been one of the European countries hit hard by the pandemic, with more than 42,600 related deaths.