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Pubs and restaurants to reopen as 2m social distancing rule relaxed

PUBLISHED: 12:57 23 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:16 23 June 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving a statement in the House of Commons, London, on the reduction of further lockdown measures. Picture: House of Commons/PA Wire

Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving a statement in the House of Commons, London, on the reduction of further lockdown measures. Picture: House of Commons/PA Wire

Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen in Suffolk from July 4 as the 2m social distancing rules is relaxed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sparked a huge backlash this week for his comments on care homes, which he has stood by Picture: PA Wire/PA ImagesPrime Minister Boris Johnson has sparked a huge backlash this week for his comments on care homes, which he has stood by Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

The PM today announced a further relaxation to the measure in a speech in the House of Commons.

He revealed that from July 4, all cinemas, museums and galleries will be able to welcome visitors, as long as safety measures are in place.

He also set out how pubs and restaurants can reopen safely as well as relaxing the 2m social distancing rule to “1m plus”.

MORE: What are all the changes to lockdown coming on July 4?

During the speech the Prime Minister said: “Given the significant fall in the prevalence of the virus we can change the two-metre social distancing rule from July 4.

“Where it is possible to keep two metres apart, people should.

“But where it is not, we will advise people to keep a social distance of one metre-plus, meaning they should remain one metre apart while taking mitigations to reduce the risk of transmission.”

During the statement, Mr Johnson did confirm however that indoor gyms, swimming pools and spas would have to remain closed.

He added: “I can tell the House that we will also reopen restaurants and pubs.

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“All hospitality indoors will be limited to table service and our guidance will encourage minimal staff and customer contact.

“In that spirit, we advise that from July 4, two households of any size should be able to meet in any setting inside or out.

“That does not mean they must always be the same two households, it will be possible for instance to meet one set of grandparents one weekend, the others the following weekend.

“But we are not recommending meetings of multiple households indoors because of the risk of creating greater chains of transmission.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he welcomed the Prime Minister’s statement.

He said: “We will study the guidance, and there are obviously a number of questions that need to be answered, but overall I welcome this statement.

“I believe the Government is trying to do the right thing and in that, we will support them.”

Sir Keir said there “are no easy decisions” to be made around easing the lockdown.

He told MPs: “Any unlocking carries risks. It has to phased, managed and carefully planned.

“It needs to be based on scientific evidence, properly communicated, accompanied by robust track and trace systems.

“And there must be support for local councils and communities to respond quickly and decisively if there any fresh outbreaks.

“But there are risks of inaction as well. Of keeping businesses and schools closed, of keeping our economy closed, of keeping families apart and we all need to recognise that today.”


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A Suffolk safari organiser is back on the trail after lockdown. Philip Charles returned from six years working as a bear guide and researcher in British Columbia in Canada to set up Spirit of Suffolk in his home county. But the newly-formed business took a temporary hit when the coronavirus crisis struck. As well as safaris, Phil also runs photography workshops, and produces prints and home-made short books. He is a lecturer at Suffolk New College, teaching wildlife and conservation-based modules on the Suffolk Rural campus in Otley. Through his business, he aims to build a conservation-based economy connecting visitors with Suffolk’s stunning countryside both digitally and physically through safaris and lectures. “I spend most of my time on safari in farmland habitat on the Shotley and Deben peninsulas,” he says. “This guiding season for Spirit of Suffolk started early March and I had several safari bookings as well as two photography workshops planned throughout March and April.” Philip was just one safari into the season – with one urban fox tour under his belt – with the business really taking off when lockdown measures were introduced on March 23, which meant he had to ditch his planned events. Lockdown hit him hard on a personal level too, he admits. “I always thought I would be able to head out to the countryside still, alone, and with caution. But as lockdown measures were introduced I realised this was not to be the case. “On a personal level this was deeply troubling as time spent in nature forms who I am as a person in both actions and spirit. “From a business perspective initially it felt shattering as I could not operate any of the core elements of the business, and to have started the season so spectacularly well with an amazing first safari and superb urban fox tour I really felt bad for the guests that had trips booked and were now not able to take them. “As a wildlife photographer but living in central Ipswich I also felt limited in what I could do photography-wise.” But he picked himself up and started working on his website and social media strategies. It was a “joy” to provide a vital connection with nature to people stuck at home, he said. “Early on in the lockdown I started a project called ‘On the Doorstep’ in which I would spend a little time each day stood on my doorstep and photograph the comings and goings of people.” The project now forms part of a cultural snapshot of Ipswich in 2020 collated by Suffolk Archives. He also used the downtime to create short books. The two titles – Suffolk Wildlife - A Photo Journey, and Spirit Bear - A True Story of Isolation and Survival – have been “very popular”, selling both in the UK and abroad. They even received an accolade from veteran environmentalist and wildlife broadcaster Sir David Attenborough who described them as “delightful”. He has two more planned – the first of which is Bears and Hares, which is set to be followed by a collection of photo stories from the doorstep project. As lockdown eased in early August he was able to resume his safaris, initially on a two-week trial basis. The pilot proved very successful and as a result he was able to begin booking events again. “Although we are nearing the quieter season I continue to take people out who are keen on enjoying the beauty of Suffolk and its wonderful wildlife and I am personally excited for the beauty and joys of autumn,” he says. “People often purchase the safaris as a gift for someone else and this continues to be popular, as a birthday present or Christmas present that can be redeemed at any point in the future.” From October, he is also planning to resume his one-day photography workshops. “I have always loved showing people the wonders of nature, whether that be a grizzly, a barn owl, killer whales or an urban fox. I think the lockdown period offered a different appreciation for the things around us and I am ever so excited to be with people again and to be showing them all the wonderful wildlife of my favourite spots in Suffolk.” He has had to adapt the tours to ensure safety, but the changes are subtle and don’t detract from the main goal - which is seeing nature, he says. “I now encourage the guest to bring along their own drink and snacks and to also bring their own pair of binoculars. We do wear face coverings while in the vehicle and with the windows open to ensure ventilation. Such changes have been well received by the safari guests and we continue to have some great wildlife viewing.” He’ll be “forever grateful” to his customers and guests for their support and understanding during the pandemic. “Recovery all depends on the current status of local restrictions and the virus itself. I am hoping that a vaccine can be in place as soon as possible. As a fledgling business I have felt a hit, although the sales of short books has helped.” But he remains “positive and optimistic”, he says. “The only way is up,” he says. His hope is that Spirit of Suffolk will become a well-known brand. “I have long term goals of buying woodland for conservation and wildlife viewing and also establishing a small lodge where I can accommodate guests for taking multi-day safaris and tours. “For now I am happy to take things slowly and cautiously, testing the waters in certain areas as I continue to grow the brand and products that I provide. “It is exciting. I am so deeply passionate about what I do that I know it will continue to be a success.” Suffolk’s wildlife in spotlight as safaris get back on track