Pleased with ‘steady progress’ on dealing with the coronavirus challenge, Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday hoped that the UK will be able to allow a more significant return to normality from November, “possibly in time for Christmas”.
Several restrictions have been eased in recent weeks. Johnson said people could now return to work in ‘Covid-secure’ conditions in workplaces, while maintaining social distancing and other measures, as much as possible. Public transport is also open to all, with face coverings.
Johnson announced additional £3 billion funding to deal with a possible second wave of the virus over the winter months, when hospitals usually deal with a surge of illnesses.
He said: “But even as we plan for the worst, I strongly believe we should also hope for the best. That means looking ahead with optimism – now extending our plan to lift the remaining national measures which have restricted our lives since March so we can get back to something closer to normal life”.
“It is my strong and sincere hope that we will be able to review the outstanding restrictions and allow a more significant return to normality from November at the earliest – possibly in time for Christmas”, he added.
More areas of public life are to be opened shortly. From August 1, most remaining leisure settings, such as bowling, skating rinks and casinos will reopen, besides close-contact services such as beauticians.
Under Covid-secure conditions, Johnson said the government will restart indoor performances to a live audience, subject to the success of pilots, and also pilot larger gatherings in venues like sports stadia, with a view to wider reopening in the autumn.
“We will also allow wedding receptions for up to 30 people. All of these measures for 1 August should be done in a Covid Secure way. In September, schools, nurseries and colleges will be open for all children and young people on a full-time basis, as planned”.
“And universities are also working to reopen as fully as possible. From October, we intend to bring back audiences in stadia and to allow conferences and other business events to recommence – again, these changes must be done in a Covid Secure way, subject to the successful outcome of pilots”, he added.