Boris Johnson Confirms Pubs Reopening April 12th, Talks Down Corona Passports

WOLVERHAMPTON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 11: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson raises a pint of beer as he campaigns ahead of the general election at the Lynch Gate Tavern on November 11, 2019 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. The U.K. will go to the polls in a general election on December …
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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will personally visit a pub on the day they are legally permitted to reopen, in a public address which also saw him play down vaccine passports, a matter that has attracted considerable controversy in recent months.

Speaking from Downing Street’s new Whitehouse-style press conference room to deliver messages that had already been largely leaked to the press in the Sunday newspapers, Boris Johnson opened by striking a positive note. Congratulating the public, Mr Johnson said “our collective efforts” are “paying off”, allowing the government to vaccinate 31 million people.

Referring to the staged end of lockdown announced in February where, pending certain tests being satisfied, the United Kingdom would slowly regain its freedom, the Prime Minister said things were going well enough that the next unlock stage would happen on time. Further, he said, “we see nothing in the present data that makes us think that we will have to deviate from that roadmap” for the steps after that, either.

This means that “shops, gyms, zoos, holiday campsites, personal care services like hairdressers, and of course beer gardens, and outdoor hospitality of all kinds” will reopen from April 12th, Mr Johnson said.

Clearly seeking to reassure the many Britons who, moved to fear by a year of alarming headlines and massive government action are left worried about a potential return to freedom, the Prime Minister said “We think that these changes are fully justified by the data, which shows that we are meeting our four tests for easing the lockdown.”

Mr Johnson also said he would be availing himself of the new freedoms personally, noting: “And on Monday the 12th I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips.”

The Prime Minister also discussed vaccine passports — what he calls “covid status certification” — which has been the subject of fevered speculation in recent months, as the government wildly vacillated between positions on whether the British people would be required to carry identity papers for the first time since the Second World War.

Playing down concerns, which peaked in recent weeks when the mood music from Westminster seemed to indicate Britons would even need papers to go to the pub — something government ministers had at one time outright rejected — the PM said there was merely a “potential” role for the passports in future.

Moved to be more specific by a question from a journalist, Mr Johnson clarified: “There is absolutely no question of people being asked to produce certification, or covid status report, when they go to the shops or to the pub garden, or to the hairdressers or whatever on Monday.

“Indeed, we’re not planning that for step three either — May 17th, we’re hoping to go for the opening up of indoor hospitality and so on, we’re not planning for anything like that, at that stage.”

The answer did leave open the possibility for so-called “covid status certification” at later dates in ‘stage four’ of and beyond, however. As reported at the weekend, the software needed to make the government’s vaccine status database workable won’t be ready to deploy properly until the Autumn at any rate, perhaps making it easier for Johnson to insist they wouldn’t be used to control pub visits in the near future.

As for the future of lockdown, despite calling the move back to freedom “irreversible”, when it came to new cases of coronavirus surging in the future, the PM was clear when he said: “We still don’t know how strong the vaccine shield will be when cases begin to rise, as I’m afraid that they will”.

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