England to reopen pubs and cinemas from 4 July
Updated 00:47, 24-Jun-2020
Tim Hanlon in London
Boris Johnson says pubs can reopen next month where 'mitigations' are in place. /Henry Nicholls/AP

Boris Johnson says pubs can reopen next month where 'mitigations' are in place. /Henry Nicholls/AP

Pub goers in England are set to be able to return to their local and order a drink from 4 July after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said social distancing rules would be relaxed to one meter where "mitigations" are in place.

The hospitality industry has been one of the worst-hit by the coronavirus outbreak but now there is light at the end of the tunnel, with the restrictions over maintaining a two-meter distance to be reduced.

While non-essential retailers were allowed to reopen last week, pubs, restaurants and hotels, along with other businesses in the leisure sector, have remained closed.

Now Johnson has said that distancing can be reduced to "one meter plus" from 4 July as long as precautions are taken such as wearing a mask and the use of protective screens. 

"Given the significant fall in the prevalence of the virus, we can change the two-meter social distancing rule from 4 July," Johnson told the UK parliament.

Non-essential retailers were allowed to reopen last week. /Xinhua

Non-essential retailers were allowed to reopen last week. /Xinhua


Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, will not immediately follow Johnson's policy and in a daily briefing in Edinburgh said she would like to see the scientific evidence for reducing the two-meter rule before making a decision.

The changes in England will allow two households to meet in any setting, hairdressers can reopen along with places of worship, as well as most leisure facilities and tourist attractions, such as theme parks. Nightclubs, indoor gyms and swimming pools, though, are to remain closed.

"Today we can say that our long, national hibernation is beginning to come to an end," Johnson said.

"All hospitality indoors will be limited to table service and our guidance will encourage minimal staff and customer contact."

Johnson added that not all restrictions should be lifted at once and people needed to use their common sense.

Read more: The New Normal: Hospitality

The UK has one of the highest death tolls in the world from COVID-19, but the number of cases has been steadily falling. On Monday, health officials reported just 15 new deaths, the lowest daily total since mid-March.

Check out The Pandemic Playbook, CGTN Europe's major investigation into the lessons learned from COVID-19