Weddings, furlough, face masks and support for pubs – 4 things Boris Johnson will address TONIGHT in press conference

BORIS Johnson will tonight spell out which easing of lockdown restrictions will be pushed back a month from June 21.

Weddings, furlough, face masks, and government support for businesses are among the issues the PM is set to address at a planned 6pm press conference.

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Fears over rising cases of the Indian Covid variant mean 'Freedom Day' will be pushed back.

Mr Johnson is due to announce extending support like furlough for businesses that can't reopen, such as nightclubs.

Rules on social distancing, working from home and wearing masks are also set to continue after June 21, with Step 4 of the governments roadmap out of lockdown delayed.

But the PM is set to increase the wedding guests cap from its current limit of 30.

JUNE 21 DELAY

Ministers were last night thrashing out plans to let more than 30 guests attend so long as they stick to social distancing.

The PM, who tied the knot with Carrie Symonds last month, is desperate not to ruin couples’ happy day.

This morning, health minister Edward Argar said couples waiting to wed are "very much" in Boris Johnson's mind.

He has said Boris was aware the last year has been "hugely distressing" for couples who have had to cancel their nuptials.

Asked about support for business, Mr Argar told Sky News: "I know that when he addresses his decision, sets out what he intends to do around the easing on the 21st, he will address those points as well.


"I think he is very mindful of the need for businesses and others to get the support they need if they continue to be locked down or unable to open.

"But I don't want to pre-empt what he will say, but I know he is very sensitive to those factors." 

Asked in May if Brits would have to stop wearing masks Mr Johnson said he hoped life would be "much closer to normality" by summer.

Under current rules, Brits can be fined £200 for not wearing masks in indoor spaces, such as shops or public transport, unless exempt.

Officials could tweak current rules and require Brits to continue wearing masks in some settings.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

The PM also wanted to to scrap "all legal limits on social contact" at step 4 on June 21, but this is set to be pushed back,

The move would mean an end all social distancing restrictions on the number of people allowed to meet up in England.

The 'one-metre plus' rule was introduced last June to allow Brits to meet as long as other measures were also followed.

Pubs and restaurants must follow the social distancing rule for their customers, seats and tables.

It means the number of punters they can hold has been limited and has had a massive impact on business.

Officials have been gathering data for a social distancing review ahead of today's announcement about the June 21 date.

Meanwhile, government guidance to work from home is set to remain in place.

The guidance, which came into effect in March last year, says "everyone who can work from home must do so".

A potential month-long delay to the easing of restrictions means pubs will be restricted to table service, with ordering drinks at the bar still some way off.

Theatres and cinemas will continue to be capped at just 50 per cent capacity, and people will be told to continue working from home if they can.

I think he is very mindful of the need for businesses and others to get the support they need if they continue to be locked down or unable to open.

Nightclubs – many of which have been closed since the start of the pandemic – will remain closed.

And gigs will also take a hit, as the current rules allow for capacity limits of 50 per cent – or a maximum of 1,000 people – indoors.

Outdoor gatherings will remain limited to 30 people, meaning summer BBQs and picnics in the park will have to stay small.

And the rule-of-six will stick around for indoor meet-ups, while face masks and social distancing will continue to be enforced.

Mr Johnson is expected to blame surging Covid cases fuelled by the worrying Delta variant.


MPs are set to get a vote on the decision, as it will require an extension of the laws underpinning lockdown.

Rebel Tories are already unhappy at the the news of a further delay, but are unlikely to have enough numbers to defeat the Government.

And Mr Johnson will offer up the deal as a glimmer of good news on a gloomy day for freedom-yearning Brits.

An in another attempt to mitigate criticism, he is also expected to allow for more seated outdoor sporting and cultural events to take place with large crowds.



It comes as the number of Indian/Delta strain cases continues to shoot up, rising by 29,892 in a week.

Amid the rapidly spreading variant, the PM would not promise the month-long delay would be the last.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab echoed his words and said no guarantee could be given as “we are dealing with variants”.

He told Times Radio that the country must not “yo-yo back in and out of measures”.

And a senior UK government source told The Telegraph the message had always been "cautious but irreversible", adding: "That has been our mantra throughout and that continues.

"It would be far worse to have uncertainty and go backwards. It is better to be cautious and have certainty.

"It is one last heave. It is a straight race between the vaccine and the virus.'  

Conservative MPs and business chiefs hit out at the decision to extend lockdown. Rebel Steve Baker urged fellow Tories to oppose it.

UK Hospitality chief Kate Nicholls said a month’s delay would cost businesses £3billion and see 180,000 jobs lost.

She said if one was necessary to meet vaccination targets, it should be “full and final”.

Infectious diseases specialist Dr Andrew Hayward said a substantial third wave of cases was starting to crash over the UK. He said opening up would “fan the flames”, causing it to spread faster.


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