Pubs, restaurants, and bars in England may have to take customers’ names and contact details as they reopen their doors next month.
Expectations are growing that hospitality venues and hairdressers will be given the go-ahead to reopen on 4 July, and that two-metre social distancing rules will be reduced.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said the government was “looking at” registration measures alongside reopening to help with contact tracing if new outbreaks are identified.
Hancock told Sky’s Sophie Ridge on Sunday other countries had introduced similar rules, but said no final decision had yet been made. “The whole approach is to move as much as safely possible from a national lockdown towards targeted local action when we see an outbreak,” he said.
The Times reports that the plans are likely to be signed off by senior ministers and medical and scientific advisers in prime minister Boris Johnson’s government on Monday.
Prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to confirm a reopening date for England on Tuesday, as well as a relaxation of the two-metre social distancing rule. The government is reported to be considering a ‘one-metre-plus’ rule, with a one-metre gap permitted if masks or other measures are in place.
It comes after weeks of lobbying by hospitality firms, calling for clarity and urgency on reopening as well as a shorter social distancing rules. Business leaders have warned of a fresh wave of closures and job losses if reopening were delayed or the two-metre gap maintained.
A Downing Street spokesperson told multiple news outlets: “The reason we are able to move forward this week is because the vast majority of people have taken steps to contain the virus.
“The more we open up, the more important it is that everyone follows the social-distancing rules.
“We will not hesitate to put the handbrake on to stop the virus running out of control.”
Non-essential retailers in Wales can also resume trading from Monday, after their counterparts in England were given the green light in mid-June.
Johnson’s announcement will only apply to England, but reopening may follow soon after elsewhere in the UK. Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday hospitality venues may remain closed for “a couple of weeks.”