the UK will remain at step three of the roadmap
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed a delay in the final stage of lockdown restrictions easing.
Johnson made the announcement at a news conference on Monday, June 14, 2021.
The Prime Minister has made the decision for the current Covid-19 rules to remain in place for another four weeks after the original unlocking date set for Monday, June 21, 2021.
Now, the final step of the PM’s roadmap to freedom will take place on Monday, July 19, 2021.
According to Boris Johnson, the spread of the Delta (or Indian) variant gave the government a “very difficult choice” in deciding to delay removing restrictions.
He believes that the possibility of a “surge in hospitalisations” is not worth the risk.
However, the PM is “pretty confident” that July 19, 2021 will be the “terminus date” for any remaining Covid-19 rules.
June 21, 2021, was meant to see all restrictions lifted, including social distancing and mask-wearing.
But now, the UK will remain at step three of the roadmap until July 19, 2021.
This means that capacity limits for sports, pubs and cinemas are still in place, and nightclubs remain closed.
It also means the rule of gatherings of no more than six people or two households indoors is staying in place.
Despite this, June 21, 2021 will still see an easing of restrictions surrounding weddings, care homes and wakes.
From this date, the 30-person limit on both weddings and wakes will be removed.
Many scientists called for the delay in the easing of restrictions to allow more people to receive a vaccine amid rising cases of the Delta variant.
A four-week delay, according to Boris Johnson, would give more breathing room to the NHS.
It would also allow more time to look into whether vaccines are actually breaking, or just weakening, the link between infections and hospitalisations.
Before the PM’s announcement, Health Minister Edward Argar told BBC Breakfast that he could not confirm the delay.
However, he admitted there was a “concerning increase” in cases of the Delta variant.
He also said there are concerns around hospitalisation numbers “beginning to creep up”.
Regardless, the hospitality industry is due to take a large financial hit from the four-week delay.
The UK Weddings Taskforce estimate that 50,000 weddings due between June 21, 2021 and July 19, 2021 could be cancelled.
Therefore, the wedding industry would lose £325 million for every week of delay.
The Night Time Industries Association also said that businesses such as nightclubs have already spent millions of pounds preparing to reopen.
As a result, the now confirmed delay could be catastrophic for bars and clubs around the UK.