British prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers can reopen from July 4th in England.
Social distancing rules will also be eased, with guests expected to remain one metre apart at all times.
Indoor service in pubs and restaurants will only be allowed to have a table service and venues will be asked to collect contact details of customers.
Most hospitality establishments across the UK have been closed since March 20th as the country battled to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, with the number of cases continuing to fall across the country, Johnson said it was now safe for a reopening.
The prime minister warned that all steps were “reversible” should cases begin to increase again.
In order to begin restoring the arts and cultural sector, some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen, Johnson added, if they can do so safely.
This includes outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, as well as libraries, social clubs, places of worship and community centres.
Despite the relaxation of rules, places still considered high-risk must remain closed.
Johnson added: “As we begin to reopen the economy, it’s important that we do not increase the risk of transmission which is why ‘close proximity’ venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools, water parks, bowling alleys and spas will need to remain closed for now.
“The government is continuing to work with these sectors to establish taskforces to help them to become ‘Covid Secure’ and reopen as soon as possible.”
Joss Croft, chief executive of UKinbound, welcomed the developments.
He said: “Today’s announcement that pubs, restaurants, hotels and attractions can officially open on the July 4th will come as a huge relief to businesses across the tourism and hospitality industry, who have earnt very little revenue since the beginning of March.
“Reducing social distancing from two metres to one will also ensure that many more businesses will be able to viably reopen at the start of next month.”
Image: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images