"We are now able to make life easier for people to see more of their friends and families and to help businesses get back on their feet," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

By Alison Fox
June 23, 2020
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The UK will lift restrictions on restaurants, pubs, and hotels on July 4, as well as drop some social distancing mandates, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.

Restaurants and pubs are limited to indoor table service and businesses will be asked to help contact tracing efforts by collecting customers’ contact information, Johnson noted in his address to Parliament.

In addition to places to eat and drink, the UK would ease restrictions on hotels, bed and breakfasts, and campsites. Previously, UK residents were not allowed to stay overnight for vacation.

“After the toughest restrictions in peacetime history, we are now able to make life easier for people to see more of their friends and families and to help businesses get back on their feet and get people get back into work,” Johnson said, but warned “the virus has not gone away… As we have seen in other countries, there will be flare ups for which local measures will be needed and we will not hesitate to apply the brakes and reintroduce restrictions even at [a] national level if required.”

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As part of the easing of restrictions, Johnson — who himself battled COVID-19 — said he was dropping the mandate to keep two meters apart and instead asked people to “keep a social distance of one meter, plus.”

“There is only one certainty: the fewer social contacts you have, the safer you will be,” he said.

Johnson said the UK would also reopen tourist attractions like museums as well as hairdressers, requiring the use of visors as part of the mitigation efforts.

“Almost as eagerly awaited as a pint will be a haircut — particularly by me,” he joked.

The lifting of restrictions comes days after the UK started allowing people to visit any type of shop on June 15 as well as meet outside with groups of up to six people, according to the government.

Currently, the UK has over 300,000 cases of coronavirus and almost 43,000 people have died, per Johns Hopkins University's real-time data. The UK still has a mandatory two-week quarantine for anyone arriving in the country, first imposed on June 8.

Travelers coming from Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man and recently travelers coming from low-risk countries,  however, are exempt.