Free to cuddle and party at last: UK reopens
Friends will hug, pints will be drawn and swathes of the UK economy will reopen on Monday, giving 65 million people a measure of freedom after a gloomy four-month lockdown against COVID-19.
Most Britons will once again be free to kiss, albeit cautiously, have a pint in their pub, sit down for a meal indoors or visit the cinema after a series of lockdowns that imposed the restrictions most stringent in peacetime history.
The biggest public health crisis in a century has been accompanied by a drastic extension of state power; during lockouts in England, police broke up parties and protests, shut down church services and fined youths up to 10,000 pounds ($ 14,000) for partying.
As freedom presents itself again, there is excitement.
“I will literally be hugging everyone I can get my hands on,” British actress Joanna Lumley told The Telegraph. “I’m going to tear babies from their mothers and lean into zimmer frames.”
“I’m going to hug the girls at the cash register, the supervisor and the guys playing soccer in the park. Much later, of course, I will be hugging the police as I am charged at the station. Hugger-aggressor, it’s me.
Next to the euphoria, however, there is also anxiety.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who before imposing three national lockdowns denounced the British state’s ‘nanny’ tendencies, advised people to cuddle with caution and made it known that the spread of the identified coronavirus variant for the first time in India meant that the UK’s final reopening in June could be delayed.
“Together we have taken another important step in our roadmap outside of lockdown, but we must take this next step with a strong dose of caution,” Johnson said in a statement.
There is growing concern about variant B.1.617.2 which UK science advisers believe will become the dominant variant in the UK and which is more transmissible than B.1.1.7 (the variant first identified times in Kent, England).
Basically, from Monday in England, gatherings of up to 30 people will be allowed outside, two families will be allowed to meet inside; cafes, bars and restaurants will reopen for domestic service; residents of nursing homes will be able to receive five visitors; and face covers will no longer be compulsory in schools.
“It’s been a long, long time this one,” said Clare Smyth, the chef of London restaurant Core, which won its third Michelin star in January during the lockdown.
“I’m super excited, I can’t wait to pass the guests on, it’s going to be quite emotional,” she told Reuters. “London is opening up and exciting times will come and they will bounce back.”
Although the rules are slightly different in the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom, restrictions are relaxed in England, Scotland and Wales from Monday, while they will be a little later in Northern Ireland .
The scars of COVID-19 remain.
The UK’s official death toll is 127,679 – the highest figure in Europe and the fifth highest in the world, after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico, according to the University Johns Hopkins.
Last year Britain’s economy suffered its worst decline in three centuries as the government spent hundreds of billions of pounds to save jobs and businesses and the Bank of England doubled its budget. purchase of bonds.
($ 1 = 0.7099 pounds)
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