A return to normal after the end of restrictions appears unlikely after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that some “extra precautions” will be needed.
Giving the clearest indication yet that he hoped for Stage 4 of unlocking from pandemic measures to be completed by July 19th, the prime minister said on Thursday that he would set out the terms of returning freedoms to Britons in the next few days.
During a visit to a Nissan plant in Sunderland, after the Japanese car manufacturer announced it would be building its next-generation of electric vehicles and batteries in the English city, Mr Johnson said, according to the BBC: “I know how impatient people are to get back to total normality, as indeed am I.”
Mr Johnson continued: “But I think I’ve said it before, we’ll be wanting to go back to a world that is as close to the status quo, ante-Covid, as possible. Try to get back to life as close to it was before Covid.
“But there may be some things we have to do, extra precautions that we have to take, but I’ll be setting them out.”
He also added that Britons should not expect travel abroad to be “completely hassle-free”.
Measures that could change after the prime minister’s announcement include the requirement to wear masks in indoor public settings, social distancing rules, limits on the number of people in indoor gatherings, restrictions on large events, and working from home recommendations.
UK: Boris Govt Plans to Offer THIRD Covid Vax Dose to Over-50s from September https://t.co/NBbNRw0h4E
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 1, 2021
Sources from Number 10 speaking to the i newspaper were reticent to discuss what measures could remain in place, but suggested wearing masks on public transport would be recommended, but no longer required by law. Masks have been mandatory in shops and on public transport since last summer.
The remarks comes after Cabinet Office minister Penny Mordaunt suggested that people may voluntarily wear masks in shops to avoid another lockdown, telling Times Radio: “We know from how people have complied with the rules today that [if] it is a choice between having the economy locked down and wearing a face mask to go into a shop people choose to wear a face mask to go into a shop.
“I hope we won’t have to do that in the future… but we will see where we get to this autumn.”
Her comments contrast with those of Cabinet colleagues Rishi Sunak and George Eustace, who said this week that they would be ditching their masks “as soon as possible”.
The World Health Organization’s envoy to the UK, Dr David Nabarro, also said this week that Britons should not “burn” their masks and “hug everybody” they see after the 19th of July, saying that while he did not want measures to continue on a mandatory basis, be home that people will choose to continue to socially distance and wear masks.
Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a known critic of the government’s strategy of prolonging lockdown measures, had also called for the end of the government’s and the media’s daily death reportings from the Chinese coronavirus, which for months have been in the double, and sometimes, single, digits, because they create a “distorted view of life in the UK and death”.
“I don’t run the BBC, but I would certainly say, ‘Why are you constantly doing this?’ Because it simply just feeds people’s perspective that there is something to be desperately scared of and feared, when in actual fact we have a way out of all this,” Mr Duncan Smith said.
‘Distorted View’ of Life and Death in the UK: IDS Calls for End of Daily Coronavirus Death Reports https://t.co/xX0e7POWH7
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 2, 2021