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Boris Johnson orders review of two-metre social distancing rule

PUBLISHED: 09:42 14 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:25 14 June 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street on coronavirus. Picture: Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street on coronavirus. Picture: Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

The two-metre social distancing rule could be reviewed by the government amid calls for it to be scrapped.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered for a comprehensive review of the rule.

The call is being made as the ease of the restriction is seen as vital if businesses such a restaurants and pubs are to be able to re-open sustainably.

The Mail on Sunday reported the review would effectively take control of social distancing guidelines out of the hands of the government’s scientific advisers, who have been deeply reluctant to countenance relaxation.

MORE: ‘The city has come together really nicely’ - Norwich businesses feeling confident about reopening

One Way Signs Appear on Norwich Street to encourge social distancing Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANOne Way Signs Appear on Norwich Street to encourge social distancing Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

The move comes as thousands of non-essential shops in England are set to reopen tomorrow for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed in March.

With many people thought to be nervous about going out again after nearly three months in lockdown, business secretary Alok Sharma sought to reassure the public that measures had been put in place to ensure their safety.

Writing in the Sunday Express, he said: “We need to get Britain’s economy firing again, while at the same time making sure we keep people safe and avoid a second peak of the disease.”

And chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak told the Sun on Sunday: “I am very conscious that there will be anxiety.

“For some time, many people have not been inside a shop and, in a way, we all have to relearn the behaviours we took for granted.

“We’ve been living with anxiety now for 12 weeks but the good news is that we’ve made enormous progress.

“Bit by bit, that confidence will come back and the anxiety will reduce. But it’s not going to happen overnight.”

There have been warnings that any maintaining of the two-metre rule, along with a closing of the furlough scheme, could be a “horrendous” situation for the hospitality sector.

Richard Caring, chairman of Caprice Holdings which runs the Ivy, accused the government of “killing the country” in the Mail on Sunday.

He said: “There are estimates saying we could have up to five million unemployed. It’s not going to be £5m - it’s going to be more.

“I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet.

“The government is actually killing the country right now and the hospitality industry is in the front line of the disaster.”

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