Express.co.uk readers can vote in our poll on whether they back the two-metre restriction being slashed. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the review into the measure will conclude “within the coming days”, while Chancellor Rishi Sunak hinted at a reduction.
Speaking during a visit to shops in North Yorkshire, Mr Sunak said: “The outcome of that review will be announced this week.
“Obviously that’s something that will make an enormous difference I think to many businesses who are keen to see a change.
“Obviously we need to go through that review but I’m very understanding of the calls for action on that, particularly for our hospitality industry, for our pubs, for our restaurants, (they) are keen to see if there’s some change that can be made there.”
It follows growing demands for the social distancing rule to be cut to save the economy.
Express.co.uk readers can vote in our poll on whether they back the two-metre rule being slashed
There are fears many businesses will be unable to survive with the two-metre restriction
There are fears many businesses will be unable to survive with the two-metre restriction.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to make an announcement next week on pubs, cafes, restaurants and hotels.
It is hoped they could reopen in England from July 4 to boost the economy.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to make an announcement next week on pubs, cafes, restaurants and hotels
Guidance being drawn up by the Government and the hospitality industry is understood to include pubgoers ordering drinks on apps instead of going to the bar and patrols by staff to ensure social distancing is being enforced.
Restaurant tables would not be set in advance and room service would be left outside doors in hotels as part of the guidelines.
Reports of a further easing of the lockdown come after the coronavirus alert level was dropped from four to three on Friday.
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The downgrading by the UK’s chief medical officers means transmission of coronavirus is no longer considered to be “high or rising exponentially”.
But the virus remains in general circulation and localised outbreaks are still “likely” to occur.
A scientist advising the Government’s coronavirus response said it would now be “reasonable” to reduce the two-metre rule to one metre with “various caveats and other precautions”.
The University of Liverpool’s Professor Calum Semple, a member of the scientific advisory group for emergencies (Sage), told the Today programme: “The reason that I change my mind now and whereas I was of a very different opinion three weeks ago is that now we are in a position where there are low levels and sustained low levels of transmission throughout the country.
Mr Johnson is under mounting pressure from Conservatives to relax the two-metre rule
“I’m still saying two metres is safer than one but in my opinion it is now a reasonable political decision to relax these rules, perhaps accelerate school opening and start opening up other parts of the economy, where it becomes harder to maintain the two-metre rule and where you might envisage going down to one metre with various caveats and other precautions and have a nuanced and flexible approach to allow parts of society to get going.”
Mr Johnson is under mounting pressure from Conservatives to relax the two-metre rule.
Former business secretary Greg Clark said evidence from other countries is “lower social distancing has worked”.
He told BBC Newsnight: “It’s important we should benefit, it seems to me, from the experiences of others in this.”
Conservative MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith also called for the two-metre rule to be reduced before companies start “calling it a day”.
He told BBC Breakfast: “The economy is teetering at the moment, so we’re supporting lots of people through the furlough schemes and through loans, and these are of course going to have to come to an end.
“If we don’t get the economy moving now, which is why the two to one metre is so critical, then we will see companies simply calling it a day and putting people onto unemployment.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a distance of at least one metre to combat the spread of coronavirus.