More than half of Brits think Boris Johnson should keep 2m social distancing rule

·3 min read
YouGov polled people on whether they think the social distancing rules should remain at 2m. (PA)
YouGov polled people on whether they think the social distancing rules should remain at 2m. (PA)

More than half of Brits think social distancing rules should be kept at two metres, a poll has revealed.

The YouGov survey found that 56% of people think the two-metre rule should stay in place, compared to just 27% who think it should be reduced to one metre.

Just under one in 10 people (9%) felt social distancing rules should be scrapped altogether, while the same proportion said they didn’t know.

Current rules in the UK advise people to stay two metres apart from people who are not in their households to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Many other countries have a one-metre rule in place, and the World Health Organization’s recommendation is for at least one metre.

The hospitality sector has warned that a two-metre rule will make it impossible for many restaurants and bars to reopen and has called for it to be revised.

Earlier this week chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed that Boris Johnson has commissioned a review into the two-metre social distancing rule.

He said the government had decided to look again at the measure due to its impact on businesses.

The review is reportedly due to report back by 4 July – the earliest date that parts of the hospitality sector could reopen.

The research, which surveyed 3,453 British adults, revealed that women are slightly more likely to think the distance should be kept at two metres than men (59% vs 52%) while younger people are also more likely to want to stick to the current rules than older people (58% of 18-24-year-olds compared to 52% of those 65 and over).

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Speaking in the Commons on Wednesday, health secretary Matt Hancock said: “It’s the sort of thing of course we want to lift and we need to do that in a way that is careful and safe.

“The scientists are reviewing it, along with the economists, and we will take forward the further measures on this when it’s possible and safe to do so.”

In April, a government adviser said the two-metre rule had been “conjured up out of nowhere”.

Robert Dingwall, from the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said: “We cannot sustain [social distancing measures] without causing serious damage to society, to the economy and to the physical and mental health of the population.

“I think it will be much harder to get compliance with some of the measures that really do not have an evidence base.

“I mean the two-metre rule was conjured up out of nowhere.”

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