As widely expected, Boris Johnson announced the final stage of England’s reopening from lockdown is to be delayed by four weeks after renewed fears that the NHS could be overwhelmed by the new wave of Covid infections.
The Prime Minister said the restrictions that had been due to lift on 21st June will not end until 19th July because of growing alarm at the spread of the Indian or Delta variant.
It means social distancing rules, wearing face masks, sitting in groups of no more than 6 inside and 30 outside, and keeping nightclubs closed remain in force – for now.
But there are some exemptions; the 30-person limit on weddings is to go and there will be no new maximum. Wedding venues will have their own specific Covid-secure capacity limits.
The Prime Minister said that a check around 14days into the 4-week delay will be conducted to see whether the Covid situation has improved, but Downing Street officials have said it is “unlikely” the plan would change then, and stressed the month-long delay will allow the government to vaccinate millions more people, and will be crucial in maximising protection.