LONDON • Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Britons to act responsibly as pubs prepare to open again and the government lifts quarantine rules on travel for more than 50 countries.
Restaurants, hotels, cinemas and hairdressers will also be allowed to open their doors for the first time in more than three months today.
Non-essential retailers have been allowed to open since June.
In a further easing of the lockdown brought in to contain the coronavirus, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will publish a list of countries that will be exempt from rules requiring arrivals to quarantine for 14 days.
Those coming from the United States, where infection rates remain high, will still need to quarantine, Mr Shapps said.
“My message is really for people to enjoy summer sensibly,” Mr Johnson told LBC radio on Thursday. “I hope very much that people will behave responsibly.”
Mr Johnson is trying to jump-start the UK economy after the pandemic killed more than 43,000 people, pushing the country into what may be the worst recession in three centuries.
Earlier this week, he accelerated £5 billion (S$8.6 billion) worth of spending, pledging to “build, build, build” in an effort to revive economic activity.
Next week, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is due to unveil more measures. Mr Sunak is focusing on preserving as many jobs as possible. His statement is likely to steer clear of big tax cuts and focus instead on a few targeted measures to help employment.
Then, later in the year, he is expected to outline a wider package of fiscal stimulus.
The government is paying 80 per cent of the wages for 9.3 million jobs at a cost of £25.5 billion.
That support will start to be withdrawn from next month, with companies forced to shoulder more of the cost. The toll on jobs is already beginning to show: Airbus has said it plans to cut 1,700 positions in Britain and Swissport International more than 4,500. And shirtmaker TM Lewin is closing its high street stores and moving online, eliminating 600 jobs in the process.
As many as 42 per cent of companies plan to cut jobs in the next six months, with another 31 per cent saying redundancies are possible, a survey released by Make UK, a lobbying group for manufacturers, has shown.
I hope very much that people will behave responsibly.
UK PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON, speaking to LBC radio
Mr Shapps, meanwhile, will unveil a list of countries and territories that the government considers safe enough to waive a requirement for arrivals in England to self-isolate.
From July 10, people arriving in England from 60 countries and territories including Germany, France, Greece, Spain and Italy will no longer have to observe a two-week quarantine. But the provisions will not extend to people returning to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which will set their own rules.
“Safety must remain our watch word, and we will not hesitate to move quickly to protect ourselves if infection rates rise in countries we are reconnecting with,” Mr Shapps said in a statement.
When the pubs reopen, the government is keen to avert scenes like those on beaches last week, when warm weather lured Britons in their thousands to the English coast and social-distancing measures broke down.
On Thursday, the Health Department published guidance for the hospitality industry to help with the government’s test and trace programme. Pubs, hotels and restaurants were told to collect the names and phone numbers of clients and retain them for 21 days so that they can be contacted if anyone at the venue is later identified as suffering from the virus.