England ‘clearly on track’ for plan to ease lockdown on July 4, Hancock says
Matt Hancock has said England is “clearly on track” to further ease the coronavirus lockdown, with the hope pubs, restaurants and hairdressers could reopen as early as July 4.
On Sunday, the Health Secretary promised the next steps would be set out this week, along with any alteration to the two-metre social distancing guidance.
With the two-metre rule placing severe constraints on the hospitality sector, it looks increasingly likely to be reduced as long as other mitigations – such as face coverings – can be used to help prevent a second wave of Covid-19 infections.
Ministers believe that cases of coronavirus are sufficiently low after three months of lockdown that a greater reopening can take place in order to revive the ailing economy.
Mr Hancock told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “We’re clearly on track for that plan because (of) the number of cases coming down, and the plan does refer to hospitality and some of the other things that are closed that so many people want to see open.”
Acknowledging that “a lot of the country does need a haircut”, he said that he is “not going to rule out” hairdressers and barbers also being able to reopen on July 4.
Later on The Andrew Marr Show, he said the Government will announce the results of a review into the two-metre rule, and the next step for the lockdown, this week.
“I think we are about to see another step in the plan and this week we will announce further details of the measures that we can take to relieve some of the national lockdown measures at the start of July including on July 4,” he said on the BBC programme.
“We’re going to set out those details absolutely this week.”