- The reopening announcement made today is the biggest to date.
- Johnson warned, however, that “the more we open, the more vigilant we have to be.”
- The reopening will only apply to England, while Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland would follow their own timetables.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made an announcement today that on July 4th, the country’s bars, restaurants, hotels, beauty salons, cinemas and museums will be reopened. In addition, weddings may also be held again. “Today we can say that our long national hibernation is beginning to come to an end,” he said.
The Prime Minister made his remarks while addressing the House of Commons. The reopening announcement made today is the biggest to date, and is considered welcome by both the hotel and cultural sectors, as well as by the British people in general.
Johnson warned, however, that “the more we open, the more vigilant we have to be.” The Prime Minister explained that the virus has not disappeared, and chances of new outbreaks remain a possibility. He, however, assured the people that if the situation gets out of hand, he “will not hesitate to apply the brakes and re-introduce restrictions – even at national level – if required.”
“I’m afraid, that we will see future outbreaks and I must be absolutely clear with the House about that,” he explained. “We will see future outbreaks and we will be in a much better position now to control those outbreaks.”
The daily numbers of infections and deaths from the coronavirus in the United Kingdom— the most affected country in Europe— have continued to decline of late. On Monday, The UK registered 15 deaths, its lowest daily toll since March 15. However, data at the beginning of each week are artificially low due to delays in Saturday and Sunday records.
The government will impose on movie theaters that they adopt measures of social distance, increased ventilation, and reservation of entrances. In the case of restaurants and hotels, they will be asked to “collect contact information from customers, as is already done in other countries,” in order to be able to locate them in the event of detection of a COVID-19 outbreak.
There will also be health security measures in beauty salons, and weddings shall be banned from hosting more than 30 people, Johnson explained to his fellow MPs. The Executive is also in contact with the live performance sector to find a way for them to reopen “as soon as possible,” Johnson added.
In the past few months, the United Kingdom has greatly increased its ability to perform COVID-19 tests, reaching 200,000 tests daily. Now, the government says it is applying tests, on a regular basis, in all homes for the elderly. On Monday, fewer than 1,000 people (958) had tested positive in the past 24 hours. According to Health Minister Matt Hancock, only one in 1,700 people now has the virus, compared with one in 400 a month ago.
The balance of the pandemic is serious, however. According to official data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS)– a body that, unlike the government, includes all deaths attributed to COVID-19 (even if the test has not been carried out)– the death toll was almost 53,000 by June 12.
The streak measures announced by Johnson will apply only to England. The devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would follow their own timetable.