Social distancing may end on July 19, reports suggest

Shoppers out in force wearing masks in Norwich city centre on the first day it became mandatory for

Social distancing may no longer be required from July 19 as part of plans to end England's lockdown restrictions. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Social distancing may no longer be required from July 19 as part of plans to end England's lockdown restrictions.

Reports have suggested enforced mask wearing and social distancing will end on Freedom Day.

Prime minister Boris Johnson is believed to be preparing to update the nation this week on plans for the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, with reports suggesting a number of measures will come to an end.

Prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to delay the easing of lockdown that was pencilled in for J

Boris Johnson is believed to be preparing to update the nation this week on plans for the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. - Credit: PA

According to The Sunday Times, mask wearing will become voluntary in all settings and the one metre-plus rule in hospitality venues will end.

It also reported mass events, including festivals, will also be allowed under the proposals for the final stage of the road map out of lockdown.

It comes as health secretary Sajid Javid, who replaced Matt Hancock, said that the country would need to find ways to live with the virus, arguing it could not be "eliminated".

He said: "We are going to have to learn to accept Covid and find ways to cope with it, just as we do with flu."

File photo dated 29/11/18 of Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who is under pressure to "get a grip" on th

New health secretary Sajid Javid addressed the House of Commons on Monday afternoon. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Most Read

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick appeared to all but confirm those reports.

Speaking to BBC's Andrew Marr show, he said: "It does look as if, thanks to the success of the vaccine programme, that we now have the scope to roll back those restrictions and return to normality as far as possible."

The cabinet minister said masks will become a personal choice, saying the "state won't be telling you what to do" as ministers look to move from legal enforcement to people using their own judgement on whether to wear face masks.

He said: "It does feel as if we are now in the final furlong, in a period in which we can start to live with the virus and move on with our lives."

Meanwhile, Downing Street on Saturday confirmed proposals to scrap quarantine requirements for those who have received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine are under "consideration".

A No 10 source said it was looking at whether to drop all legal self-isolation measures for fully vaccinated people who come into contact with someone who is infected as a possibility for life after Stage 4 of the road map.

But the hospitality industry said that decision would not lift pressures it is currently under as a result of the NHS Test and Trace app, which bosses said was "casting the net quite wide" in terms of who it pings as a close contact of a positive case, leading to mass shutdowns of venues.

The Sunday Times said that the need to scan a QR code before entering bars, restaurants and other venues, such as museums, will become a thing of the past after July 19.

The government confirmed that, as of 9am on Saturday, there had been a further 24,885 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK, while a further 18 people had died within 28 days of testing positive.

It comes as the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that about one in 260 people in private households in England had Covid in the week to June 26 - up from one in 440 in the previous week and the highest level since the week to February 27.

The British Medical Association (BMA) had said that keeping some protective measures in place was "crucial" to stop spiralling case numbers having a "devastating impact" on people's health, the NHS, the economy and education.

In response to the reports of lockdown easing, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: "No decisions have been made but more details will be set out soon."

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter