Table ordering rule in pubs to be ditched as No10 seeks to axe social distancing on June 21
PUB-GOERS look set for a boost as ministers are prioritising the return of ordering at the bar over ditching face masks.
The Sun understands that No10’s biggest priority is to scrap social distancing on June 21 over other restrictions.
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Getting punters back into packed boozers and restaurants is seen as absolutely crucial for businesses – and the Treasury’s coffers.
Whitehall insiders reckon this “big ticket” goal of scrapping the 1 metre rule would have the biggest impact on Brits’ lives and the economy.
But they will only press the button on the massive lockdown easing if the Covid data looks good enough.
The revelation comes as Brits anxiously wait to see if Boris Johnson goes ahead with his plan to ditch lockdown measures on June 21 amid concerns about Indian Covid.
In a boost to the nation’s hopes, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said “there’s nothing in the data that suggests to me that we should move the day” restrictions are lifted.
But he cautioned that he “cannot guarantee” the unlocking will not be delayed.
The government is looking at four different crunch issues – or “baskets” – it must decide on by June 21.
Scrapping social distancing is the first and biggest of these decisions.
On masks, ministers are mulling over whether to keep them across the country, just in Covid hotspots or leave it up to individuals to decide whether or not to wear them.
Downing Street is also examining whether to bring in Covid certificates – dubbed vaccine passports – to unlock mass events, and whether work from home orders should stay or go.
Ministers will only make a final call on what measures – if any – can be ditched on June 21 nearer the time when they have all the health data.
But there are some very early signs that Covid cases in Bolton – the worst hit by Indian Covid – are starting to plateau.
While several scientific experts said the picture looks good.
Robert Dingwall, a member of the scientific group Nervtag which advises the government, said it was “hard to see any reason”why June 21 could not go ahead.
He told Times Radio: “The vaccines are doing their job in protecting the most vulnerable, the oldest… the infection is being driven into smaller and smaller pockets, and we really have to just pursue it with the vaccines.”
Dr Helen Wall, the head of Bolton’s jabbing programme said “vaccines seem to be working” in stopping severe illness even among the hospitalised.
She told the BBC: “In terms of how ill they’re getting, I think the vaccine definitely seems to be working.
“We are not seeing, certainly not many people as sick as we would have done pre-vaccine, certainly the picture in hospital is much better to previous times when we’ve been at this position.”
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