“Almost as eagerly awaited as a pint,” he said, “it will be a haircut, especially for me.”
Under the new plan, hairdressers in England will be able to open, as well as places of worship, cinemas and concert halls, although they will not be allowed to organize live performances. Gyms, swimming pools and discotheques will remain closed.
Although several countries have reduced their social distancing rules, the evidence of the effect is still open to debate. The World Health Organization advises people to keep a distance of “at least one meter,” while the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that they stay “at least six feet” or two meters away.
“It will be much more risky to go to a subway,” said Susan Michie, a professor of health psychology at University College London, a member of the government’s advisory panel. “If the government were honest with the public, they would say, ‘This is a riskier strategy, but we are still taking it for economic reasons.'”
In fact, other parts of Britain are diverging from England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are making their own decisions on when to ease the blockade, with Scotland and Wales moving more slowly than England.
Johnson is expected to announce new measures this week to relax the country’s 14-day visitor quarantine by negotiating quarantine-free travel corridors between Britain and several European countries. This comes after intense lobbying by the airline and tourism industries.
Britain imposed its blockade in late March, much later than its neighbors, and has been more cautious in lifting it, in part because it suffered one of the worst outbreaks in any western country. About 43,000 people have died; Johnson himself survived a serious attack of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.