PRIME MINISTER Boris Johnson has reportedly ordered ministers to ease lockdown restrictions as quickly as possible to avoid the loss of three million jobs.
On Friday night, Mr Johnson allegedly signed off new measures to reopen the economy at a meeting with the Chancellor Rishi Sunak according to the Sunday Times. This came after a meeting on Tuesday where the Prime Minister was reportedly warned by the Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, that refusing to open the hospitality sector during the summer could cost up to 3.5 million jobs.
The plans to ease lockdown rules are said to be unveiled this week.
These include relaxing rules to enable pubs, cafes and restaurants to use outside areas.
Places of worship could reopen on June 15 for private prayer, the same day as non-essential shops, under the plans.
There are also possible measures to allow hairdressers to reopen before July 4.
Mr Johnson has reportedly told the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, to secure “travel corridor” deals with holiday hotspots by June 28.
An “travel corridor” or “air bridge” would mean passengers travelling between the UK and specific destinations could do so without needing to self-isolate for two weeks when arriving in the UK.
These plans come as scientists are warning that the R value, which shows the rate of coronavirus infections, is close to one.
An R rate of one or above means that cases of Covid-19 increase exponentially.
Mr Johnson also reportedly wants the government to reduce social distancing measures of two metres to one if scientific evidence can justify the change.
Six ministers are overseeing the plans – Mr Sunak, Mr Sharma, Michael Gove, Robert Jenrick, Mr Shapps and Oliver Dowden.
This weekend, Mr Sharma will allegedly talk to Dutch and Danish government officials about how they shifted to one metre social distancing in their countries.
One metre is the minimum distance recommended but the World Health Organisation.
A cabinet minister told the Sunday Times that the changes to lockdown restrictions are “long overdue”.
They said: “Its right that the emphasis has shifted to the economic side and a return to normal life.”
A different senior source told the Sunday Times: “Boris wants us back to normal, or as near to it as possible before the summer.”
On Friday, leaders in the hospitality industry declared their support for reducing the social distancing measurements.
Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of UK Hospitality, said: “At two metres you are receiving 30% of your normal revenues.
“At one metre it gets up to 70% -so it is the difference between success and failure for many of those businesses.”
Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member on the Sage committee, however warned on Friday that if lockdown restrictions lift too fast there could be a danger of a “rebound” of coronavirus cases.
He said: “Covid-19 is spreading too fast to lift lockdown in England.”
According to the Observer, Chris Hopson, head of NHS Providers, accused ministers of “cheap political rhetoric”.
Over 40 thousand people have died from coronavirus in the UK and there are 285 thousand confirmed Covid-19 cases.