Covid: Boris Johnson confirms reopening of shops and pubs

Boris Johnson has confirmed the next stage of lockdown lifting in England will take place from next Monday. 

The Prime Minister said he would be visiting a pub on April 12 as he confirmed the next stage of lockdown easing can go ahead.

It means all shops, gyms and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen in a week’s time, while pubs and restaurants can serve food outside. 

Addressing a Downing Street press conference this evening, Mr Johnson said: “The net result of your efforts and of course the vaccine rollout is that I can today confirm that from Monday April 12, we will move to step two of our road map.

“Reopening shops, gyms, zoos, holiday campsites, personal care services like hairdressers and of course beer gardens and outdoor hospitality of all kinds.

“And on Monday 12, I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips.”

Mr Johnson said the lockdown changes in England were “fully justified” but urged the public not to be complacent.

He added: “We think that these changes are fully justified by the data, which shows that we are meeting our four tests for easing the lockdown.

“But – and you know I’m going to say this – we can’t be complacent.

“We can see the waves of sickness afflicting other countries and we’ve seen how this story goes.

“We still don’t know how strong the vaccine shield will be when cases begin to rise, as I’m afraid they will, and that’s why we’re saying please get your vaccine or your second dose when the turn comes.

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“And please use the free NHS tests even if you don’t feel ill.”

The Prime Minister also said he did not think, based on the current data, that there would be any deviation from his road map out of lockdown.

It offers hope that pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers indoors from May 17, and families will be able to meet up indoors.

But Mr Johnson refused to be drawn on possible arrangements for allowing foreign travel, which – according to the road map out of lockdown – could be allowed from May.

The Prime Minister said: “We set out our road map and we’re sticking with it.

“And I want to stress that we see nothing in the present data that makes us think that we will have to deviate from that road map.

“But it is by being cautious, by monitoring the data at every stage and by following the rules – remembering hand, face, space, fresh air – that we hope together to make this road map to freedom irreversible.”

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