Yesterday (23 June) the Prime Minister announced further changes to lockdown restrictions allowing more businesses to return to a ‘new normal’ from 4 July.
With caution as the watchword, the Prime Minister detailed changes to the two-metre rule making it economically viable for many more businesses to reopen. From 4 July, businesses in England will need to prepare their businesses to help people stay ‘one metre plus’ apart, taking mitigations to reduce the risk of transmission. Guidance on how businesses an reduce the risk can be found here and include improving ventilation, avoiding face-to-face seating and using protective screens and face coverings. A new Business and Planning Bill reported to be introduced this week will enable businesses to adapt to these new rules by giving them greater operating freedom for example allowing greater use of outside space over the Summer months.
With these new social distancing measures in place, the Prime Minister announced the reopening of large parts of the hospitality, cultural and tourism sectors including: cinemas, museums, galleries, places of worship, community centres – and yes pubs and restaurants. Accommodation will also reopen in England from 4 July allowing people to enjoy staycations in ‘self-contained’ accommodation including hotels, beds & breakfasts as well as campsites as long as shared facilities are kept clean.
‘Close proximity’ venues such as nightclubs, indoor gyms and swimming pools remain closed for the time being as work continues to explore how to make them COVID secure.
The ability to get back to normal and contain the virus at a local level going forward will rely on strengthening the NHS Test and Trace system and continued vigilance from us all.