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Pub rules, face masks and social distancing will end on July 19 confirms Boris

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Boris Johnson has announced what restrictions will end next Monday if the country is able to proceed with his roadmap out of lockdown.

The Prime Minister made the announcement because he wanted to give the public and businesses more time to prepare for the potential Freedom Day on July 19.

The final decision on whether the country will move forward will be confirmed on Monday, July 12, following a review of the data, the PM confirmed.

The government also published the results of its reviews into the use of so-called vaccine passports and the future of social distancing guidance.

Restrictions had originally been due to end on June 21 but the government postponed the exit from lockdown by four weeks amid concern about rising cases of the Delta variant first spotted in India.

Under the plans, the one metre plus rule will be scrapped except in specific places – such as at the borders (the airport arrival hall), and if you test positive and are on your way to self-isolation.

If the country proceeds with the roadmap out of lockdown next week, there will also no longer be limits on social contact.

The rule of six indoors and rule of 30 outdoors – which limited gatherings by law – will both be axed.

This will also mean that nightclubs and mass events can reopen at full capacity.

Legal requirements on hospitality businesses will be revoked, such as restrictions on seated eating and drinking and mandatory table service – meaning Brits can get back to standing at the bar to order their pints.

The legal requirements to wear face masks will be removed completely.

Guidance will suggest where people might choose to wear a face covering, such as in enclosed and crowded places, but this will be voluntary.

People will no longer be required to scan in using QR codes when going out but venues can still request this if they want or people can scan if they want.

The vaccine rollout will be further accelerated by reducing the dosing interval for under-40s from 12 weeks to eight weeks.

This matches the shorter eight-week interval that already exists for over-40s between their first and second dose.

It means the government now expects all adults to have been offered the chance for a second dose by mid-September.

The government will also no longer instruct people to work from home.

But officials are stopping short of encouraging a return to the office, saying it is a decision for employers.

People will have a clear legal right to work from home if they’re not comfortable with mask rules in their workplace.

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Under the new rules, anyone experiencing Covid symptoms should continue to get a test.

Free asymptomatic testing – including lateral flow tests that you can order to your home – will be extended to September 30 for now and this could be extended again in the future.

Contact tracing will carry on, and it will remain a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive, or are asked to do so by Test and Trace.

The five-person limit on each resident’s number of "named visitors" will be lifted, with any number of visitors allowed.

Despite the expected easing of many measures, Boris Johnson said the pandemic is "far from over" and will not be over by July 19, with a potential 50,000 cases detected a day by that date.

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Speaking at a Downing Street press conference on Monday, he said: "We’re seeing rising hospital admissions and we must reconcile ourselves sadly to more deaths from Covid.

"In these circumstances we must take a careful and a balanced decision. And there’s only one reason why we can contemplate going ahead to step four in circumstances where we’d normally be locking down further, and that’s because of the continuing effectiveness of the vaccine rollout."

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has welcomed the announcement and the news that nightclubs will finally be able to reopen.

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Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA, said in a statement: "We have been encouraged by much of what the Prime Minister said today about what Government restrictions will look like in the next phase of reopening. The end of social distancing; the end of the rule of six and table service for indoor mixing; no ban on mass events; the removal of the need to scan a QR code to enter venues; and the decision not to introduce Covid status certification – these are all very important steps that we have been campaigning for, because they are the restrictions which have decimated the night-time economy over the last sixteen months.

"We were disappointed again, despite the positive noises, that the Prime Minister did not confirm that reopening would be going ahead on July. 19 As we commented at the time of the last decision on restrictions, one week is simply not enough time for businesses to plan to reopen – and it betrays the sense that the Government doesn't understand what it takes to reopen a businesses after over a year without trading."

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