Boris Johnson set to lift venue capacity restrictions and social distancing later this month
Ahead of his statement to the nation, Johnson made a statement regarding the statement to the press
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to unveil plans to lift capacity restrictions and ease social distancing from 19 July, according to a number of reports.
Ahead of a news conference at 5pm today, briefed broadsheets have stated Johnson plans to remove social distancing measures from 19 July, while also removing a mandate to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor spaces. Test and Trace will remain in operation, though venues do not need to collect attendance data for each visitor.
These new policies are in line with "Step Four" in the government's roadmap to reopening, which was originally scheduled for 21 June but was pushed back following an increase in case numbers.
Some venues may, if they deem it necessary, encourage the wearing of masks or even introduce some form of Covid status certification, but reports suggest this will not be enforced by law.
The news should enable theatres to open at capacity – which should be welcome news for theatre producers now able to stage viable productions at full capacity. Shows including Anything Goes and Jersey Boys have all pushed their opening dates to beyond this 19 July date in order to be viable.
Johnson said in his statement ahead of a 5pm national briefing: "We will set out how we can restore people's freedoms when we reach step four. But I must stress that the pandemic is not over and that cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks. As we begin to learn to live with this virus, we must all continue to carefully manage the risks and exercise judgment when going about our lives."
It is currently being stated that plans to maintain travel restrictions will remain for the time being.
The final decision on Johnson's plans will be made on 12 July, with the government set to assess whether the foreseeable pressure on the NHS will be classed as too great. The government has also emphasised that the vaccine roll-out must continue at pace – only through greater immunity will individuals be safe in the long run.