‘Margin for manoeuvre’ on 2m distancing rule says PM

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Government advice: the Prime Minister has said the two-metre distancing rule is under review
Government advice: the Prime Minister has said the two-metre distancing rule is under review

Related tags Prime minister Pubs Coronavirus

The two-metre distancing rule is being kept under "constant review" according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The Government will continue to keep the measure under review until Saturday 4 July - the date pubs have been given for reopening.

Johnson told The Telegraph​: “We work very closely with the scientists at all times and make the right decision, on the basis of safety, health and stopping the disease.

“The question for us is as we get the numbers down, so it becomes one in 1,000, one in 1,600 maybe, even fewer, your chances of being 2m or 1m or even a foot away from somebody who has the virus obviously going down statistically so you start to build some more margin for manoeuvre and we will be looking at that and keeping it under constant review as we go forward, to the next step in our plan, which is 4 July."

Under review

He added: “We will be keeping it under review until 4 July. The guidance at the moment is, there are benefits in terms of preventing the disease from two metres.

“Clearly, statistically those benefits while important, become less valuable as we get the disease down but what I don't want to do, is sacrifice the huge efforts of the British people in beating this disease.”

Johnson's comments came on the same day that Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show ​that ​the measure was being looked at.

He said: “It will be a comprehensive review, it will be conducted very soon.”

Trade research

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls told BBC Breakfast ​this morning (Monday 15 June) the Government's decision to conduct a review was welcomed.

She added: "It is a matter of survival or business failure, as far as hospitality is concerned, or for many of the small businesses that make up hospitality.

"If businesses are opening at two-metres social distance, then they are opening at 30% of their normal revenues and we know for a quarter of our small hospitality businesses, they won’t be able to open at all.

"If they open at one metre with additional protections to make sure staff and customers are safe, then they can reach 60 to 70% of their normal revenues and that puts them at break even.

"For many of those businesses, it is literally about viability and we know a third of businesses may not reopen as a result of prolonged closure and that puts 1m jobs at risk across the hospitality sector. It really is very significant for us."

As previously reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA)​, research from the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), found that one-in-four pubs can’t reopen at two-metre distancing​.

The survey of the BII’s 8,500 members also revealed 82% of operators said reopening at two-metre distancing would yield less than 50% pre-pandemic turnover, while 97% said such measures would mean their turnover fell below 75%.

The data discovered if measures were halved to one metre, just one-in-10 licensees would not be able to resume trading, with 65% of respondents somewhat or very confident they could provide a safe environment for staff and customers under one-metre spacing guidelines.

Related topics Legislation

Related news

Show more