Prime Minister Boris Johnson has commissioned a review into the 2 metre social distancing rule ahead of July 4 when pubs, restaurants and hotels could be allowed to open.
Following calls from the hospitality industry to scrap the rule given the challenges it would post on operating profitably post Covid-19 lockdown, Johnson told the BBC that there was ‘margin for manoeuvre’ in the 2m rule as the number of coronavirus cases in the UK falls.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak told the BBC the government would ‘actively’ look again at the measure, given its ‘enormous impact’ on the profitability of businesses. He added that he would like to see the rule relaxed if ‘safe and responsible’ to do so.
Currently, the UK government advises people to stay 2-metre apart from others to avoid spreading the coronavirus.
This is further than the World Health Organization’s recommendation of at least 1 metre, and some other countries like France and Denmark.
Some bars, restaurants and pubs say they will be unable to make a profit if the 2m guidance is still in place when they reopen. Tourism firms have also warned of tens of thousands of job losses unless the distance is shortened.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the industry body UK Hospitality, has said that with a 2-metre rule, outlets would be only able to make about 30% of normal revenues, whereas 1m would increase that to 60-75 per cent.