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More businesses can open from 4 July

24 June 2020: the prime minister has announced that hospitality businesses can reopen, with COVID-mitigating measures, from Saturday 4 July.

Offices, restaurants, pubs, hairdressers and hotels can reopen from 4 July, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a reduction in social distancing rules from 2 metres to 1 metre.

The focus will be on guidance over regulation, the prime minister said, with new guidance being issued on how businesses can mitigate the risks of COVID-19. This could include:

  • avoiding face-to-fact seating;
  • improving ventilation;
  • changing shift patterns;
  • sanitisers;
  • reducing the number of people in a space.

Restaurants and pubs will be limited to table service. The guidance will recommend that contact between staff and customers is kept to a minimum. Hospitality businesses will be expected to take contact details from customers to help with track and trace efforts. “Today we can say that our long national hibernation is beginning to come to an end,” the prime minister said.

Cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks, arcades, outdoor gyms, playgrounds can reopen, as long as they’re COVID secure. Nightclubs, softplay areas and indoor gyms will remain closed. Two households at a time will be able to meet indoors, while up to six people can still meet in outdoor spaces.

“We cannot lift all the restrictions at once…every step is scrupulously weighed against the evidence,” the prime minister said. “The more we open up, the more vigilant we need to be.”

Iain Wright, ICAEW’s Director for Business and Industrial Strategy, says:

“Today’s announcement is welcome news, although allowing businesses to open up is just the start. It’s vital that Government does all that it can to ensure that trading volumes can recover as quickly as possible. 

“Relaxing the 2 metre rule is an important step, especially for retailers and the hospitality sector, but restoring consumer confidence will be absolutely key and all eyes will now be on further measures which can be made to get the economy off of Government support and to encourage those who can to start spending.”