Boris Says There Is a ‘Good Chance’ Social Distancing Will End Next Month, But Won’t Commit

HARTLEPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 03: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a clenched fist as he campaigns on behalf of Conservative Party candidate Jill Mortimer (unseen) ahead of the 2021 Hartlepool by-election to be held on May 6 on May 3, 2021 in Hartlepool, north-east England. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby …
Lindsey Parnaby - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said there is a “good chance” that social distancing will end next month, as England is set to come out of restrictions on June 21st.

Prime Minister Johnson would not, however, fully commit to the end of the one-metre rule because it would be “dependent on the data” and “we can’t say it categorically yet”.

“I think we’ve got a good chance, a good chance, of being able to dispense with one-metre plus,” he told media during a campaign tour in Hartlepool on Monday, according to Sky News.

“That’s what it feels like to me right now,” he added.

In February, the prime minister set out his roadmap for lifting restrictions following England’s third lockdown since March 2020.

However, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who also as the first secretary of state is the de facto deputy prime minister, suggested on Sunday that other “safeguards” could remain in place after June 21st, including mask-wearing in public indoor spaces.

First Secretary of State Raab told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that the government would be looking at “what extra safeguards, caveats, need to be put in place” at the end of June.

Suggesting that there would be no return to normal next month, Mr Raab continued: “We want to get to a position at the end of June where we can get life back as close to normal as possible, but there will still need to be some safeguards in place.”

Pressed on what kind of safeguards will still be mandated at the official end of lockdown, Mr Raab said he did not want to “prejudge it”, saying only “it’ll be around distancing, something around masks… those are just some of the options”.

May 17th is the next milestone in the prime minister’s plan, with prohibitions on foreign travel being eased. But Mr Johnson would not clarify if Britons would be able to go abroad on holiday by that time.

Addressing media on Monday, Johnson said: “We will be saying more as soon as we can.

“I think that there will be some openings up on the 17th, but we have got to be cautious and we have got to be sensible and we have got to make sure that we don’t see the virus coming back in.”

The remarks from the prime minister and foreign secretary come as it was revealed several local councils have extended contracts or are recruiting for COVID Secure Marshalls — in charge of advising the public on social distancing — after June 21st, with some contracts extendable until 2023, suggesting corona measures could be with the UK for some time to come.

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