Reports from last week suggested that the Government was going to fudge the “Freedom Day” deadline by announcing restrictions were being lifted, but keeping nearly all of them in place. That has now been more or less confirmed. The i has the story.
Social distancing in hospitality venues, working from home and masks on public transport could all remain in place after June 21st under plans being considered to revise the roadmap out of lockdown, i understands.
According to senior Government advisers, the current thinking in Downing Street is that many restrictions will need to remain in place after so-called “Freedom Day” to avoid another full lockdown in the autumn.
It means the full lifting of lockdown restrictions are likely to be delayed for “a few weeks” due to concerns over new variants of Covid and increased pressure on the NHS.
Medical experts are pushing for a delay to the easing of restrictions, arguing that a few more weeks to vaccinate more people will offer greater certainty against another lockdown.
i understands the Government is likely to backtrack on encouraging a return to the workplace, continue with the guidance to work from home if possible, and is also likely to continue with the policy of mask-wearing and social distancing on public transport.
A Government source told i: “The current thinking is it would be irresponsible to risk another full lockdown in the autumn by opening up too fast on June 21st.
“While many businesses would have been hoping to operate at full capacity in a few weeks’ time it is better than they can operate at reduced capacity rather than being shut down completely again if we hit another peak.”
While pubs may no longer be required to provide table service, drinkers could be able to order at the bar from June 21st. However, social distancing in bars and restaurants is likely to remain, along with limits on audiences in theatres and cinemas.
Worth reading in full.