Two-metre rule reduced and two households now allowed to meet indoors

The Prime Minister has announced a reduction in the two-metre social distancing rule, as he confirmed pubs, restaurants, hotels, hairdressers and barbers in England can reopen from July.

Boris Johnson updated Parliament on a number of changes to England’s coronavirus lockdown to come into force from 4 July.

From next month, people will be required to keep “one-metre plus” apart from others, while also taking measures to mitigate the risk of transmitting COVID-19.

Mr Johnson said people will be encouraged to use “mitigation” – such as face coverings and not sitting face-to-face – when within 2m of each other. However, he added: “Where it is possible to keep 2m apart, people should”.

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The changes to social-distancing guidance come after appeals from the hospitality industry and Conservative MPs.

Another change to the guidelines from 4 July will allow gatherings of two different households indoors.

This will mean families can be reunited, but unlike the bubble system, people will have to maintain social distancing – so family members who live apart could not hug.

Theatres and concert halls can begin operating, but cannot stage live performances.

Although a raft of businesses will be able to reopen in the weeks to come, Mr Johnson said nightclubs, indoor gyms and beauty salons must remain closed “for now”.

Spas, casinos, nail bars, tattoo parlours, massage parlours, soft play areas, swimming pools, bowling alleys and water parks will also not reopen at this stage.

Mr Johnson said that the announcement meant “our long national hibernation is beginning to come to an end”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he welcomed the statement overall, adding ” I believe the government is trying to do the right thing and in that I support them”.

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