June 21: Which Covid restrictions could be lifted, and what impact will it have if they are not?

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When it was unveiled in February, the PM’s roadmap out of lockdown promised to ‘restore freedoms sustainably, equitably and as quickly as possible’.

Announcing the plan, Boris Johnson said: ‘We cannot persist indefinitely with restrictions that debilitate our economy, our physical and mental wellbeing, and the life-chances of our children.’

The roadmap set out a plan to end legal limits on social contact by June 21.

The ultimate decision will be based on four tests, including the success of the vaccine rollout, current pressure on the NHS and the risk posed by new variants.

As ministers inch closer to making the call on whether to stick to the roadmap, we look at what rules could finally be lifted – and the impact if they are not.

ONE-METRE RULE

Only last week, Mr Johnson said there was a ‘good chance’ the Government could ditch its ‘one-metre plus’ social distancing guidance.

If the advice remains in place, there will still be significant impacts on everyday life.

If the ‘one-metre rule’ advice remains in place, there will still be significant impacts on everyday life

The advice would make it difficult for the Government to overturn its guidance that everyone who can work from home must do so, while posing a further obstacle to the retail and hospitality sectors. 

It could also prevent an end to enforced table service at pubs and bars. 

Kate Nicholls, of UK Hospitality, said lifting the one-metre rule is ‘vital’ for firms to operate viably.

LIMITS ON WEDDINGS

Failure to lift restrictions will mean that those getting married will have to keep the number of attendees at the current limit of 30.

Couples risk losing tens of thousands of pounds, while businesses already on the brink have warned that failure to allow big ceremonies to go ahead will be disastrous.

Couples risk losing tens of thousands of pounds, while businesses already on the brink have warned that failure to allow big ceremonies to go ahead will be disastrous

Couples risk losing tens of thousands of pounds, while businesses already on the brink have warned that failure to allow big ceremonies to go ahead will be disastrous

Couples risk losing tens of thousands of pounds, while businesses already on the brink have warned that failure to allow big ceremonies to go ahead will be disastrous

Industry body the UK Weddings Taskforce warned the wedding sector faces estimated revenue losses of more than £1.3billion.

RULE OF SIX (INSIDE)

Continuing to limit indoor gatherings to six people or two households would curtail sections of the hospitality sector reliant on large- scale events.

It would also prove an impediment to larger families who have spent months waiting for the opportunity to meet indoors, rather than in gardens.

Continuing to limit indoor gatherings to six people or two households would curtail sections of the hospitality sector reliant on large- scale events

Continuing to limit indoor gatherings to six people or two households would curtail sections of the hospitality sector reliant on large- scale events

Continuing to limit indoor gatherings to six people or two households would curtail sections of the hospitality sector reliant on large- scale events

Ministers have not dismissed the possibility of ditching the rule of six while keeping social distancing guidance in place, due to the higher risk of transmission inside.

UK Hospitality has predicted that a two-week delay to easing restrictions could cost the industry £1.5billion. Pub retailer Greene King has warned it would lose £1million during every England football game that takes place without the easing of the rules.

RULE OF 30 (OUTSIDE)

The hospitality sector is once again likely to bear the brunt of the refusal to scrap the 30-person cap on out- door gatherings.

The improving summer weather and lifting of restrictions was expected to coincide with a wave of large-scale gatherings that may now have to be cancelled.

NIGHTCLUBS

Already on their knees after being hit hardest of all by Covid restrictions, an extended ban could be a fatal blow for the country’s nightclubs and indoor music venues.

A recent report found that clubs, which have been closed for 15 months, have already made 51 per cent of staff redundant.

The Night Time Industries Association, which represents nightclubs and other venues, has warned MPs that venues are facing an estimated £2.5billion rent crisis.

LARGE EVENTS

Failure to give the green light to capacity crowds could prove a hammer blow to the music festival sector, which is worth £1.1billion.

It is also likely to stand in the way of the UK’s summer of sport, with the European Football Championship the most high-profile victim. 

Failure to give the green light to capacity crowds could prove a hammer blow to the music festival sector, which is worth £1.1billion. Pictured: Dua Lipa performs at the 2021 BRIT Awards

Failure to give the green light to capacity crowds could prove a hammer blow to the music festival sector, which is worth £1.1billion. Pictured: Dua Lipa performs at the 2021 BRIT Awards

Failure to give the green light to capacity crowds could prove a hammer blow to the music festival sector, which is worth £1.1billion. Pictured: Dua Lipa performs at the 2021 BRIT Awards

The tournament’s semi-finals and final are being played at Wembley and limits could dash hopes of seeing the stadium filled with cheering England fans.

Just 15 people out of 60,000 tested positive for Covid at nine trial events staged by the Government, including the FA Cup Final and Brit Awards last month.

FACE MASKS

At present, you can be fined up to £200 for failing to wear a mask in indoor areas such as shops or on public transport, unless they are exempt. 

Last month, the Government dropped a requirement for schoolchildren to wear masks amid concerns they were affecting learning.

Ministers, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock, have said that restrictions over wearing masks could be kept after freedom day

But ministers, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock, have said that restrictions over wearing masks could be kept after freedom day.

Surveys have shown people are largely in favour of retaining indoor mask-wearing, while studies show they can be successful at reducing transmission when combined with other measures.



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Written by bourbiza

Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.

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