Boris Johnson, the U.K. Prime Minister, announced plans to end social ditancing and limit capacity at venues in England starting July 19. He also stated that people need to learn how to live with coronavirus.
In a shift from legal requirements to individual responsibility, face masks will be voluntary in all settings.
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All other businesses, including nightclubs will be permitted to open. No one will need to ask for proof of vaccinations or testing prior to entry. On July 12, the final decision will need to be made.
Ministers believe that the vaccine program has not broken the link between hospital admissions and virus cases. As people are allowed to mix more, cases will rise. This will lead to more hospitalizations, and even more deaths, according to the government. However, this is at a lower level than when vaccines were first introduced.
Johnson stated at a news conference, “If we cannot open our society within the next few weeks we must ask ourselves when we will be able return to normal.”
Race for vaccination
The U.K. is working hard to immunize the population against the rapidly-emerging delta variant of the virus. 64% of adults have received two doses. Scientists warn that this is not enough to lift all restrictions, especially since millions of people are not yet fully immunized.
Johnson announced that the vaccine program would be expedited for those under 40. This will reduce the time between doses from 12 to 8 weeks. If they are positive for Covid-19, or are requested to by the Test-andTrace program, people will be legally required to self isolate.
Johnson indicated that he would allow double-vaccinated persons who are identified by Covid cases as contacts to be exempted from self-isolation rules. More details will be revealed later in the week.
The government has also partnered with the travel industry in removing the requirement for people to have two shots of quarantine upon their return from amber-listed countries. In the days ahead, plans to eliminate the “bubble” school system in England will also be announced.
Ministers believe that the delay in the final stage of government’s roadmap has saved thousands of lives.
There are no more limitations
New rules will eliminate any restrictions on social contact. Currently, only six people are allowed to meet indoors while 30 can meet outside.
There will no longer be any restrictions on how many guests can attend life events like weddings or funerals. The “one meter plus” social distancing rule won’t be enforced everywhere, except in very limited settings such as ports of entry.
The capacity limit in theatres, sports arenas, and concert halls will all be lifted. People will be free to line up at bars again, without any legal requirements for facial coverings. QR code sign-ins won’t be legally enforced.
After officials warned that the potential negative effects of a Covid status certificate scheme on public health would make it difficult for people to enter venues, they will not require proof of vaccination.
Employers will decide when and how fast employees return to work.