UK eases virus rules as pubs, restaurants open outdoor areas

London, Apr 12 (EFE).- Pubs and restaurants in England on Monday reopened outdoor spaces as the country advanced in its plan to ease its Covid-19 restrictions with Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging citizens to remain cautious.

As part of Johnson’s four-step exit plan from the lockdown in place since the beginning of the year, hair salons, clothing shops, indoor gyms, swimming pools are also among the non-essential businesses opening their doors to customers.

“I am sure it will be a huge relief for those business owners who have been closed for so long, and for everyone else it is a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed,” Johnson said in a statement to told local media.

“I urge everyone to continue to behave responsibly and remember ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ to suppress Covid-19 as we push on with our vaccination program,” he added.

Authorities have granted pubs permission to remain open until 10 pm, three hours longer than usual during the pandemic, to avoid crowds on public transport.

Johnson canceled a planned trip to a pub to enjoy a drink outdoors, following the death of Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, at the age of 99 on April 9. A period of national mourning is in place until next week.

Resuming international flights will be included in the next step of easing lockdown set to take place on May 17. The British government plans to fully reopen England’s economy by June 21.

Some 32 million people have received the first vaccine so far in the United Kingdom.

Since the start of the pandemic, the UK has recorded more than 4 million Covid-19 cases and 127,087 deaths.

The lockdown easing differs between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with decisions being made by the devolved authorities of the latter three nations.EFE

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