What could it mean if England’s June 21 reopening is delayed?


What could it mean if England’s June 21 reopening is delayed?

What are the scientists saying?

A Sage member said this week would be “absolutely critical” in determining whether the June 21 unlocking would go ahead as planned, but added that “we certainly don’t want to go on delaying forever”.

Professor Dame Anne Johnson said more data was needed to make a decision. She told Sky News that there had been a “significant uptick” in the number of cases in the past week or two, meaning that reopening as planned would be a “very finely judged decision”.

However, NHS leaders have said that scientific modelling has been crude and unreliable at predicting the pandemic, and they warned against using it to decide whether to release restrictions on June 21.

Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, said trusts were “sceptical” about the fitness of models to provide useful forecasts for the pandemic.

How does this affect businesses?

UK business chiefs have warned MPs that a “generation” of firms could face collapse without further support, after piling up billions of pounds in debt during the pandemic.

Hospitality bosses have said that delaying freedom day would push many struggling businesses “closer to the cliff edge”.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said: “The ongoing uncertainty around the roadmap is causing significant distress to hospitality businesses and operators.

“It is crucial that the Government commits to dropping the restrictions on June 21. Any delay in the roadmap would have a devastating effect on an already fragile sector.”

Government support for affected businesses remains in place until September.

What is currently allowed?

Most of the legal restrictions on meeting outdoors were dropped on May 17 after the Government pushed ahead with Step 3 of Mr Johnson’s roadmap.

People are allowed to meet indoors too, but the rule of six or two households still applies.

Indoor dining in restaurants is already permitted and customers are no longer required to purchase substantial meals with alcoholic drinks, nor to stick to a curfew.

Gyms have reopened and certain larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues have resumed.

Up to 30 people are able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals.

What is permitted in the other UK nations?

As of Monday in Wales, groups of up to 30 people can meet outdoors, including in private gardens, while up to three households can meet indoors.

The Welsh government is yet to give a date for the reopening of larger venues providing live performances or for events such as outdoor music festivals.

Plans to ease lockdown restrictions in much of Scotland have been paused, but restrictions were reduced in Glasgow, which had been kept in Level 3 restrictions due to a spike in cases.  

Restaurants, cafes, bars and other hospitality venues in Northern Ireland can operate indoors, with six people allowed to sit together from unlimited households with table service only.

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