BORIS Johnson is reportedly determined to scrap the one-metre social distancing rule on July 19 even if other Covid measures have to remain in place.
Cabinet sources suggest the Prime Minister is set to prioritise the removal of the restriction to give a much-needed boost to the hospitality industry and the arts, reports the Mail.
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The one metre rule is set to be scrapped next month[/caption]
Boris Johnson has reportedly made it his priority[/caption]
However, a recent surge in Covid cases has raised fresh doubts that all restrictions will be eased on July 19.
It also means that the suggestion Freedom Day could be brought forward two weeks is not likely to happen.
Ministers will review the latest data this weekend before announcing a formal decision at the “mid-point review”.
However, a source told the Mail that the early easing of restrictions is “not happening”.
It comes as Environment Secretary George Eustice said Brits will be able to “shed” their masks from July 19.
His remarks came as a huge boost to business, after research for the Government showed keeping some curbs would have a huge impact on firms.
Ministers and scientists have said the latest data is “encouraging” and Britain is “on track” to leave lockdown as scheduled.
Mr Eustice said yesterday: “What we want to do on July 19, and the data looks good to be able to have that, and is to remove all of the legal restrictions.
“That’s all of the legal requirements to do things to be taken away completely.
“Whether there will still be some people who might choose to wear masks, or whether it may be advisory in some settings, that’s a separate matter.
“But the objective of that final stage is to remove the legal requirement to do these things.”
Asked if he will carry on wearing a mask after Freedom Day, he replied: “I wouldn’t, no.
“I’d have to be honest, once I’m told that it’s safe not to, I want to get back to normal. I think a lot of people will want to shed those masks.
“But while it’s contributing to controlling the pandemic, yes, I will wear my mask like everybody else and obviously do my bit.”
The Sun first reported that ministers were set to completely ditch mask wearing as part of the final step out of lockdown.
There had been some fears Boris Johnson could look to keep some restrictions such as face coverings until the winter or even longer.
But No 10 is thought to have been swayed by damning internal research showing the impact that would have on the events industry.
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Analysis showed keeping masks alone would whack almost a fifth of the sector’s earnings, driving businesses to the wall.
A Government source said: “We know how devastating restrictions have been for the live events industry.
“We desperately want to see full theatres, music venues and stadiums and are working every day to achieve this.”