Johnson warns of local lockdowns as British pubs prepare to reopen





London - By Bill Smith, - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday warned that the government could impose local lockdowns if people fail to follow social distancing rules as pubs, cafes and restaurants reopen this weekend.

Pubs in England and Northern Ireland are allowed to open their doo



rs to customers from Saturday after a three-month closure during the coronavirus pandemic.
Similar venues in Scotland and Wales are expected to follow suit next week, while some pubs and restaurants have already opened outdoor seating areas and takeaway services.
Johnson has encouraged people to spend in shops, pubs and restaurants to help revive the economy following the severe impact of the pandemic.
"We want life to get back to as close to normal as possible as fast as possible," he told reporters.
Johnson said he wanted people to "enjoy summer safely, adding that "it's got to be done in a responsible way."
Britain's lockdown had saved "hundreds of thousands of lives" but had a "devastating" impact on its economy, he said.
Britain has reported Europe's highest death toll of nearly 45,000 linked to the pandemic. Health data analysts estimate the true death toll at up to 70,000, based on seasonal excess deaths.
Police and politicians have raised concerns that the reopening of pubs, in particular, could encourage people to ignore social distancing rules and lead to local or national spikes in infections.
Metropolitan Police Commander Bas Javid appealed to Londoners to "remain responsible and keep each other safe."
"We remain in a health crisis and we all have an essential part in helping to minimize the spread of coronavirus," Javid said, adding that his officers would be policing hospitality venues over the weekend.
Johnson said he wanted to move away from national measures to "targeted, local measures" for individual premises, districts or whole towns and cities.
He warned that the health of Britain's economy was "dependent on every single one of us acting responsibly."
Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, said that if people failed to maintain social distancing "the possibility of a second wave goes up sharply."
Whitty said the government planned "walk this narrow path ... and balance, the best we can, these multiple risks" between curbing coronavirus infections and reviving the economy.
He said he expected the virus to continue circulating for "a long time."
Johnson said the success of businesses reopening this weekend "and ultimately the economic health of the whole country, is dependent on every single one of us acting responsibly."
"Anyone who flouts social distancing and Covid-secure rules is not only putting us all at risk but letting down those businesses and workers who have done so much to prepare for this new normal," he said.
Johnson urged people not to gather in groups of more than six, or more than two households.
In Newcastle, known as one of Britain's liveliest city centres, officials said only about 30 per cent of pubs and restaurants planned to reopen on Saturday, The Guardian reported.
All customers will be required to give their names and contact details to allow tracking in case of local coronavirus outbreaks.

Friday, July 3rd 2020
By Bill Smith,
           


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