We are not out of the woods yet - PM message ahead of Saturday reopenings

Handout photo issued by 10 Downing Street of Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in

Handout photo issued by 10 Downing Street of Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19). PA Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2020. - Credit: PA

Do not let traders down, that is the message from the prime minister ahead of the reopening of many businesses on Saturday.

Boris Johnson led a press conference at Downing Street this evening to address the nation as many pubs and businesses prepare to open for the first time tomorrow.

The prime minister warned “we are not out of the woods yet” and urged Britons to “enjoy summer safely”.

He said anyone who flouts the social distancing rules would be letting down “those businesses and workers who have done so much to prepare for this new normal”.

He said: “My view, my urging to everybody, can be summed up in the phrase ‘enjoy summer safely’.

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“I do want people to feel that it’s safe to go and enjoy themselves and enjoy hospitality.

“But it’s got to be done in a responsible way.”

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Mr Johnson said that if people gave their names behind the bar or in restaurants and observed social distancing and hand hygiene then it would be a success.

Setting out how the government will tackle any future outbreaks, he said: “We need to move away from blanket national measures to targeted local measures.

“So, instead of locking down the whole country, we will lock down specific premises, or local areas where the virus is spreading.”

The targeted local measures would only shut establishments and schools if absolutely necessary to control an outbreak.

He said a timetable would be published next week outlining how businesses such as indoor gyms, nail bars and swimming pools as well as cricket could return.

Chief medical officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, urged people to keep following social distancing rules as lockdown restrictions are eased, adding: “If individuals, families and firms do not take them seriously the possibility of a second wave goes up sharply.”

The chief medical officer said there was no perfect time or way of implementing easing of restrictions.

He added; “What this is is an attempt to balance, as best we can, in a way that makes it possible for society to be as close as possible to normal, whilst living alongside this virus - which we will have to continue to do.

“This virus is a long way from gone. But, it is not going to be gone for a very, very long time.”

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