The prime minister’s announcement yesterday (June 23) included details for further easing lockdown measures, including a relaxation of the 2m social distancing rule, from July 4.
People will now be told to keep at least one meter apart but should continue to stay a 2m distance from others wherever this is possible, the government said.
The changes, which apply in England only, also permit shops, restaurants, hairdressers and hotels to reopen from the same date, providing they adhere to strict guidelines.
Mr Johnson said in his statement: “While we remain vigilant, we do not believe there is currently a risk of a second peak of infections that might overwhelm the NHS.”
He added that the chief medical officers for all four UK regions have now downgraded the UK’s COVID-19 alert level from four to three, “meaning that we no longer face a virus spreading exponentially, though it remains in general circulation”.
“Conditional and reversible changes”
Other changes set out by the PM include people from two households being allowed to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures. Outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks, arcades, libraries, social clubs, places of worship and community centers are also allowed to reopen, “if they can do so safely”.
The statement said that “close proximity venues”, such as indoor gyms, spas and night-clubs, will remain shut while the government works to find a safe way for them to reopen.
Mr Johnson also said that “from now on” people would be asked to “follow guidance on social contact instead of legislation.”
He added that the latest changes were “conditional and reversible” and the government would be keeping the measures “under constant review”.