Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be allowed to reopen from June 1, if they adhere to strict social distancing guidelines, the Prime Minister announced at the daily coronavirus briefing at Downing Street this evening.
Retail shops, including department stores and independent businesses, will be allowed to reopen from June 15, he also announced.
But all shops wanting to reopen will have to follow new guidance, set to be released today, with Mr Johnson warning that the government will have powers to enforce the new rules if necessary.
Speaking at the conference tonight, he said: ‘Today I want to put the retail sector on notice of our intention to reopen shops so they can get ready to reopen.
Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be allowed to reopen from June 1, if they adhere to strict social distancing guidelines, the Prime Minister announced at the daily coronavirus press conference at Downing Street this evening
‘So I can announce that it is our intention to allow outdoor markets to reopen on June 1, subject to premises being Covid secure, as well as car showrooms which often have sufficient out door space.
‘From June 15 we intend to allow all other non-essential retail, ranging from department stores to small independent shops to reopen.
‘We will set out our formal assessment of the five tests that we set for adjusting the lockdown later this week as part of the three-weekly review we are legally required to undertake by Thursday.
‘But because of the progress we are making I can, with confidence, put the British people on notice of the changes we intend to introduce as we move to step two.
‘We know that the transmission of the virus is lower outdoors and that it is easier to follow Covid secure guidelines in open spaces.’
Mr Johnson added that the government will today publish social distancing guidelines to help shops become ‘Covid secure’ before reopening.
He said: ‘This will ensure there can be no doubt about what steps should be taken.
‘We will of course have powers to enforce these conditions, where it is required.’
From June 15, the government intends to allow all other non-essential retail, including department stores, to reopen. Pictured: Department store Debenhams
Independent retailers will also be allowed to reopen from June 15, the government today announced. Pictured: A high street on the Isle of Man
The boost to retail comes as government figures, released today, showed there had been 121 more deaths related to coronavirus across all settings, taking the official death toll to almost 37,000.
It marks the lowest Monday death toll since the UK’s draconian lockdown was enforced on March 23 (74 deaths). For comparison, 160 fatalities were announced last Monday and 118 were recorded yesterday. But officials warn that death numbers released on Sundays and Mondays are usually significantly smaller due to a delay in processing fatalities over the weekend.
Department of Health chiefs also announced 1,625 more Covid-19 cases today, the first time the UK has recorded fewer than 2,000 positive tests in the space of 24 hours in almost nine weeks. Separate figures showed 8,800 Brits are currently in hospital being treated for coronavirus – down 12 per cent in a week.
The Prime Minister’s announcement in the Downing Street press conference tonight came after his aide Dominic Cummings refused to apologise for driving 260 miles to Durham during the coronavirus lockdown.
Vote Leave maverick Mr Cummings – who is facing calls to be sacked – faced accusations of ‘double standards’ but he told a press conference in the Number 10 Rose Garden: ‘I don’t regret what I did.’
In other developments to Britain’s coronavirus crisis today:
- Britons descended on parks and beaches amid an expected 79F heatwave as they declared, ‘If Dominic Cummings can break the rules, we can too’;
- An NHS hospital in the Somerset seaside hotspot of Weston-super-Mare was forced to stop taking new patients due to a high number of coronavirus cases;
- Newsreader Simon McCoy slammed his BBC colleague Gary Lineker for abusing his position after the Match of the Day host accused the Prime Minister of lying;
- Schools face a long journey before they are able to return to normal, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said as he insisted classes must restart on June 1.
The Department of Health’s daily death toll means the rolling seven-day average of victims has dropped to just 303 – the lowest since March 31 (274) and less than a third of the peak on April 14 (943).
It takes the overall official number of victims to 36,914 – but the true number is thousands higher because it only takes into account laboratory-confirmed cases, not the suspected deaths in other settings.
CUMMINGS REFUSES TO APOLOGISE FOR DRIVING TO DURHAM DURING CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN
Dominic Cummings today refused to apologise for driving 260 miles to Durham during the coronavirus lockdown as he claimed he had always behaved ‘reasonably and legally’ amid growing calls for the PM’s top aide to be sacked.
Mr Cummings said his decision to travel to the city to stay in a cottage on his parents’ land was the result of a ‘very complicated, tricky situation’ as he admitted he had not sought Boris Johnson’s permission to make the journey at the end of March.
The Vote Leave maverick has faced accusations of ‘double standards’, with the nation having been told to stay at home, but he told an unprecedented press conference in the Number 10 Rose Garden: ‘I don’t regret what I did… I think what I did was reasonable in the circumstances.’
Asked directly if he had offered to quit or had even considered it, he added: ‘No I have not offered to resign, no I have not considered it.’
Mr Cummings conceded that ‘reasonable people may well disagree’ with his chosen course of action but he was resolute in his belief that he had acted in an appropriate manner and had not broken the rules.
He insisted ‘I don’t think there is one rule for me and one rule for other people’ and blamed public anger at media reports ‘that have not been true’.
The usually scruffy adviser was wearing an open collared shirt as he confirmed that he had travelled to the town of Barnard Castle on April 12 after the end of his period in self-isolation with coronavirus.
He insisted he and his family had not walked around the town 30 miles from Durham and had only ventured 15 metres from the car to the river bank. He said the purpose of the journey was to see if he was fit enough to make the drive back to London.
He also said that he and his family had walked around a woods during their stay in Durham but that they were within his parents’ private property and that they had not come into contact with anyone else.
Meanwhile, he claimed he did not stop for fuel on the way up to Durham but he had stopped once on the way back.
He said: ‘Yesterday I gave a full account to the Prime Minister of my actions between March 27 and April 14, what I thought and did.
Of the 121 new deaths, 76 occurred in hospitals – most of which were in England. The remainder of the newly recorded Covid-19 fatalities happened in other settings, such as care homes.
England recorded 104 deaths, followed by nine in Scotland, seven in Wales and one in Northern Ireland – tallies that do not match up with the individual counts recorded by each of the home nations.
For instance, Scotland’s own health chiefs today announced three new deaths but yesterday recorded seven. Northern Ireland had the same issue, recording eight new fatalities today but only one yesterday.
The issue is only thought to occur with Scotland and Northern Ireland because of a difference in how the data is collected. Wales announced seven new deaths today and yesterday.
NHS England figures also do not match the individual tally collated by the Department of Health for England (104) because the official toll includes deaths across all settings, not just in hospitals.
And the two use different measures for hospital deaths, with the DH relying on data from Public Health England, which uses several sources to provide an update every afternoon.
The figures published today by NHS England confirm that April 8 was still the peak of the crisis, with 891 hospital deaths recorded – up from the 59 that were announced today by NHS England.
Of the 59 new deaths recorded in England’s hospitals, 47 occurred over the weekend. Five took place on Friday, while the remaining seven victims succumbed to the disease between May 16 and 21.
It comes as Dominic Cummings will this afternoon make a public statement to directly address claims he broke lockdown rules by travelling to Durham, Downing Street confirmed.
Mr Cummings is expected to take questions about his conduct which has plunged the government into a state of crisis and has prompted calls for a formal investigation.
The intervention came after one of the government’s scientific advisers warned the ‘debacle’ over the lockdown journey had ‘fatally undermined’ the nation’s fight against coronavirus.
Professor Stephen Reicher, who is a member of the Government’s advisory group on behavioural science which feeds into SAGE, said the result of ‘undermining adherence to the rules’ will be that ‘more people are going to die’.
Mr Johnson is facing a furious backlash from ministers, Tory MPs and even bishops after he yesterday attempted to mount an extraordinary defence of Mr Cummings, staking his reputation on trying to protect his aide.
At a dramatic Downing Street press conference last night, the PM claimed Mr Cummings had acted ‘responsibly, legally and with integrity’ while making a controversial 260-mile trip from London to Durham during lockdown.
Mr Johnson insisted Mr Cummings had ‘followed the instincts of every father’ by driving to his parents’ farm after his wife developed symptoms of coronavirus. The PM’s defence of his aide prompted fury among Britons.
Sun-worshippers descended on parks and beaches today for the Bank Holiday amid an expected 79F heatwave, which could see parts of the country basked in temperatures hotter than Athens, Nice and Barcelona.
Crowds formed outside the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park, as beaches in Sussex, Essex and Dorset quickly filled up with visitors looking to enjoy the dry and sunny conditions forecast to last the whole day.
Source: Daily Mail – Articles