London, June 22 (IANS) UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce on Tuesday if the hospitality sector can reopen on July 4 and if the 2-metre COVID-19 distancing rule in England can be relaxed.
Johnson will give an update on the next stage of lockdown easing in Parliament on Tuesday and was also expected to reveal the outcome of a review into the social distancing rule, the BBC reported.
The development comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that England was “clearly on track” to further ease lockdown restrictions.
Addressing the media on Sunday, Hancock suggested that customers may have to register when entering pubs and bars so they can easily be traced if they come into contact with a coronavirus case.
Asked about plans for registration and ordering drinks through smartphone apps, he said: “I wouldn’t rule it out. It isn’t a decision we’ve taken yet, but there are other countries in the world that take that approach.”
He added that he “very much hoped” that the 2-metre rule can be lowered, with “mitigations” to cut the risk of transmission.
The government has come under pressure from the hospitality sector to lower the rule, with many saying it would be impossible to trade under the current restrictions, said the BBC report.
Johnson said the government was “sticking like glue” to the roadmap it announced for England in May.
In phase two, at the start of June, the plan allowed the opening of non-essential retail and the return of more pupils to school.
When Johnson announced the roadmap, he said phase three would allow for some pubs, restaurants, cinemas and other hospitality venues to reopen at the start of July “at the earliest”.
The World Health Organization recommends a distance of at least 1 metre, but the UK government’s scientific advisers say that distance carries up to 10 times the risk of being 2 metres apart.
The other nations of the UK are yet to announce any plans to change the 2-metre distance rule.