Pubs, Restaurants, Museums, Cinemas And Barbers Reopen: What Are The New Rules?

Tom Nicholson
Photo credit: OLI SCARFF - Getty Images

From Esquire

After three full months in lockdown, the UK is getting ready to open up the businesses which have been forced to shut for the last three months of the coronavirus crisis.

On 22 June, Boris Johnson told MPs that businesses and public spaces which had been closed since the start of lockdown in March could begin to reopen from 4 July. That includes pubs, restaurants galleries, museums, cinemas and barbers.

As with every stage of the lockdown, there are a lot of ifs, buts and only-in-Englands to run through with this new advice. Here are the essentials you need to know.

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When will everything open up again?

As set out in the broad 'roadmap' toward reopening which the government published back in the middle of May, 4 July is the date at which businesses and services can start opening up again. "Where it is not possible to stay two metres apart," the Downing Street press briefing says, businesses must operate a 'one metre plus' policy. That means customers and staff can be within one metre of each other, as long as other safety precautions are taken.

This only applies to England, remember – Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are sticking to the two-metre rule.

What exactly will be open?

Pubs, restaurants, non-essential shops, galleries, museums, cinemas and barbers will return, as long as precautions are taken to make sure that the risk of transmission is lessened. Theme parks, arcades, libraries, social clubs and community centres will all be able to open too. Slightly confusingly, theatres and concert halls will open, but not for live performances. Indoor attractions, like aquariums and skating rinks, will also open their doors.

"Close-contact" venues including nightclubs, soft plays, gyms, swimming pools and spas will remain closed. Bowling alleys and water parks aren't going to open either.

What safety precautions are going to be in place?

Specific guidance to reopening businesses isn't clear yet, but various measures have been mooted. Staff will need to wear protective gear and work in shift patterns that limit different working groups mixing, and in pubs and restaurants, table service and app-ordering will replace hanging around at the bar.

We're also likely to see people separated by perspex, and seating arrangements reconfigured to keep people spaced apart. Cultural venues may bring in bookable time-slots to limit crowding, and cinemas will need to make sure there are spaces between patrons' seats in any screenings.

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Can I visit family and friends?

Up to six people will be able to gather indoors – subject to social distancing measures – and members of one household can stay over at another household overnight in England. In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, it's still recommended to meet outdoors.

You're still meant to be practicing social distancing whenever you meet friends or a partner you don't live with, so strictly speaking, popping round for sex isn't on the table either.

Can I go on holiday?

Yes, potentially, but only in England at the moment. Johnson announced that hotels, hostels, B&Bs, holiday apartments and homes, campsites and caravan parks will be allowed to reopen, as long as "no more than two households stay together" and places with shared facilities keep them disinfected. Which you'd hope for in normal times too, really.

Johnson said that 'air bridges' to other countries are being discussed, but there's no more detail at the moment.

Can I play sport?

Close-contact sports are still off the table for now, while indoor fitness and dance studios and gyms will remain closed. Johnson said specifically in the Commons that cricket won't yet be allowed because of the ball being passed around, so presumably, that counts out all other ball-handling sports.

You can play sport with your household in the park though, and you can use outdoor gyms too.

How long will these measures last?

There's no indication yet how long this change will last before either more easing or a return to full lockdown cont

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