PM Boris Johnson has commissioned an ‘urgent’ review into the 2m social distancing rule following a fall in the number of coronavirus cases across the UK. The review is set to be completed by 4 July, and will consider evidence from both scientists and economists. ‘We’ll work very closely with the scientists at all times and make the right decision on the basis of safety, health and stopping the disease,’ the Prime Minister replied when asked about the review of the social distancing guidelines during a visit to a shopping centre in east London earlier today.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said that the government would ‘actively’ look at the 2m social distancing rule given its ‘enormous impact’ on businesses, adding that ‘many other countries’ had opted to go with a required 1m of distance between one another. Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Sunak said: ‘I can very much understand the positive impact it will have on businesses’ ability to open and thereby maintain the jobs that they have and make sure the people who work for them can come back to those jobs and remain employed. At the same time we must make sure it is safe to do so.’
For reference: the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends staying at least 1m away from one another, and while some countries (China, Denmark, France to name a few) are choosing to go along with the WHO’s guidance, others (UK, Spain) are enforcing even stricter social distancing rules of no less than 2m. Obviously, enforcing this greater distance is tougher for some businesses than it is for others. With the hospitality sector set to reopen from 4 July in England, the primary concern of pub, café, and restaurant owners seems to be the enforcing of the 2m distance, with some claiming the current social distance regulations would make it impossible for them to turn a profit.
As much as we are all looking forward to cramming back into the local, is the risk of a second peak worth standing a metre closer together? Time will tell, we suppose. [BBC]