LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday that the current 2-meter social distancing rule will be loosened from July 4 to "1 meter plus" in England so as to further ease the coronavirus lockdown.
Following a review, the prime minister set out the guidance that allows people to keep a social distance of "1 meter plus" where it is not possible to stay 2 meters apart.
This means staying 1 meter apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission, according to a statement from 10 Downing Street.
"This vital change enables the next stage of our plan to ease the lockdown," he told MPs at the House of Commons (lower house of parliament).
Meanwhile, Johnson announced that from July 4, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers, among others, will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
In order to begin restoring the arts and cultural sector, some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen, if they can do so safely, according to the government.
This includes outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, as well as libraries, social clubs, places of worship and community centers.
However, "close proximity" venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools, water parks, bowling alleys and spas will need to remain closed for now.
The government explained that this is because it wants to make sure the risk of transmission will not be increased as "we begin to reopen the economy."
Despite the adjustment of rules, Johnson stressed that the public must continue to follow social distancing guidelines to keep the pandemic under control.
The government also said that it will keep all measures under constant review and will not hesitate to apply the handbrake, or reverse measures, should the virus begin to run out of control.
The latest move came three months after Johnson imposed the lockdown in order to contain the spread of the COVID-19 in the country.
Another 15 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain as of Sunday afternoon, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 42,647, the British Department of Health and Social Care said Monday.
The latest figures will be announced later Tuesday afternoon.