England to allow shops, restaurants to reopen Monday

England to allow shops, restaurants to reopen Monday
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Shops, restaurants, bars and a number of other non-essential businesses will reopen in England on Monday, as the country continues its coronavirus vaccination effort.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the eased restrictions in a statement last week. Hairdressers, beauty and nail salons, gyms and spas are also among the non-essential retail locations set to reopen.

Public buildings such as libraries and community centers, and outdoor settings and attractions, including zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas and drive-in performance events, will also be permitted to reopen on Monday.

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Restaurants and bars will also be permitted to reopen only for outdoor service, without the requirement that customers purchase a substantial meal alongside alcohol. Additionally, curfews at locations will be lifted.

Customers will, however, still be required to remain seated while eating and drinking.

Outdoor gatherings will still be limited to six people or two households, and indoor gatherings are still prohibited with “anyone you do not live with or have not formed a support bubble with.”

According to Johnson, the country decided to move into the next phase of reopening after data confirmed the government’s “four tests” required for easing restrictions.

The assessment, according to the statement, was based on the country’s vaccine deployment program, evidence showing the vaccine’s effectiveness in reducing hospitalizations and deaths, infection rates that do not risk a surge in hospitalizations and if an “assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.”

The statement also noted that before easing restrictions, the government “studied the latest data to assess the impact of the first step, which began when schools reopened on 8 March.”

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Johnson, The Associated Press, previously promised to visit a pub for a pint to mark the reopening, but has since postponed the celebration following the death of Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II.

More than 27 million first vaccine doses have been administered in England, according to the United Kingdom’s coronavirus website.

According to The New York Times, more than 4.3 million coronavirus cases have been reported in the United Kingdom, and more than 127,000 deaths have been confirmed.