But public servants must adhere to strict rules on social distancing, including an edict that customers must be served only at their desks and that their contact information must be taken in advance.
Speaking at the House of Commons on Tuesday, Johnson said the country was successful in slowing the virus to a level where life could begin to return to the streets. All restaurants could reopen restaurants, hair salons, museums and cinemas.
“Today we can say that our long national hibernation is starting to end and life is starting to return to our streets and to our shops,” he said.
All catering activities would allow for reopening, Johnson said, while adhering to guidelines that would encourage limited contact between staff and customers. Hair salons could be opened with appropriate precautions, such as the use of visors, Johnson announced. To facilitate reopening, the English social distance limit of 2 meters would be reduced to 1 meter if other mitigation measures were in place – such as face masks, visors or protective screens.
Also as of July 4, two households of any size could now meet “in any environment inside or outside,” maintaining social distance, Johnson said. The current rules only allow outside groups of up to six people.
Johnson acknowledged that other states in the UK – Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – will take their own approach, but said everyone sees a similar trend in their coronavirus cases. He also stressed that the new measures will not be implemented by legislation, but will be introduced as guidelines. He called on the “British public to use their common sense with full knowledge of the risks”.
Other facilities may be reopened, provided they are “protected”, including hotels and other forms of accommodation, places of worship, libraries, community centers, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and indoor leisure centers and community clubs.
The UK has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus deaths in Europe, and the tool is greater than 42,000. Johnson’s government came under fire for delays in responding to the virus, confusing messaging, and a relatively relaxed approach to the country’s outbreak.