Face masks and social distancing measures in England set to end on 19 July, new reports suggest

By Helen Johnson
Sunday, 4th July 2021, 9:50 am
Mask wearing and social distancing measures will end as part of the lifting of lockdown restrictions in England on 19 July, reports have suggested (Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Mask wearing and social distancing measures will end as part of the lifting of lockdown restrictions in England on 19 July, reports have suggested.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is understood to be preparing to update the nation this week on plans for what has been dubbed as ‘Freedom Day’ in England.

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Numerous newspapers have suggested that the Prime Minister believes a host of domestic measures will be able to end on his “terminus date” of 19 July.

According to The Sunday Times, Mask wearing is set to become voluntary in all settings

Social distancing rules in hospitality venues will end, according to the newspaper. This would mean a return to drinking at the bar and the requirement for table service no longer in place.

The paper also said that mass events, including festivals, will also be allowed under the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

Downing Street also confirmed on Saturday (3 July) that proposals to get rid of quarantine requirements for those who have received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine are under “consideration”.

A No 10 source also said it was looking at whether to drop all legal self-isolation measures for fully vaccinated people who come into contact with someone who is infected as a possibility for life after the final stage - Stage 4 - of the road map.

'The health arguments are equally compelling'

The new reports regarding the ending of social distancing measures and the wearing of face masks come as senior doctors recently petitioned for some Covid measures to remain in place to stop the rise of cases.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said that keeping some protective measures in place was “crucial” to stop case numbers spiralling and having a “devastating impact” on people’s health, the NHS, the economy and education.

As of 9am on Saturday (3 July), the Government confirmed that there had been a further 24,885 lab-confirmed Covid cases in the UK, while a further 18 people had died within 28 days of testing positive.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that about one in 260 people in private households in England had Covid in the week to 26 June.This is up from one in 440 in the previous week and the highest level since the week to 27 February.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid wrote in the Mail on Sunday: “The economic arguments for opening up are well known, but for me, the health arguments are equally compelling.

“The pandemic has hit some groups disproportionately hard. Rules that we have had to put in place have caused a shocking rise in domestic violence and a terrible impact on so many people’s mental health.”