Boris Johnson is drawing up plans to allow people to meet up with family and friends again in ‘social bubbles’ from June, it has been reported.
The Prime Minister revealed during Monday’s press conference that markets and care dealerships will be able to open from June 1, while all ‘non-essential’ retail will begin resuming from June 15. The changes are dependent on the coronavirus daily death toll continuing to fall.
Now the government is reportedly working on proposals to allow small social gatherings outdoors, such as garden parties or barbecues. The plans are said to be part of a wider implementation of ‘social bubbles’, which could see people mix with up to 10 other people at a time.
The measure is already being used in New Zealand, which has only seen 21 coronavirus-related deaths compared to the UK’s 37,000. The rules mean each household is expanded to include a core group of family or friends that they can interact with outside their home, such as grandparents or siblings.
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The government is said to favour the ‘bubble’ system, while a spokesperson for the Prime Minister told The Telegraph they are ‘open to the idea’. They added that the government is ‘alive to the issue of social isolation and the need for mental wellbeing’.
Ministers are also said to have been advised by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) that the risk of a coronavirus reemergence will be lessened by people meeting up outdoors.
From Monday next week schools will begin reopening, with Reception, Year One and Year Six among the first age groups to return. The government has repeatedly said lockdown measures can only continue relaxing if the virus’ reproduction number (R) remains under one.
The following reopening of markets, car dealerships and eventually retail outlets will see thousands of furloughed workers return to their jobs. Most shops have been closed since March, at a huge financial cost to the Treasury.
The new measures come at a time of continuing anger at Johnson after he defended his most senior adviser for driving more than 250 miles to Durham while suffering from coronavirus symptoms. At the time, the public was being urged to ‘stay at home’ and only go outside for essential trips, such as exercising, buying food or going to work.
In an unprecedented move, Dominic Cummings then attempted to explain his actions in a televised press conference on Monday. He claimed that he had been left with no choice but to drive to Durham to find childcare for his son after both he and his wife became ill.
He also claimed that sightings of him at Barnard Castle, 30 miles from where he was staying, were the result of a ‘test drive’ to see if his eyesight was good enough for him to travel home to London two days later.
Mr Cummings confirmed during the conference that he had no intention of resigning and did not apologise for his actions, despite referring to them as a ‘mistake’. Johnson has continuously stood by the adviser, despite pressure from other Tory MPs to sack him from his role.
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Source: Metro News UK