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Tuesday 7th July 2020

Conservatives demand two-metre social distancing rule is scrapped for pubs

They claim it will help avoid redundancies in the hospitality sector

Senior Conservatives are calling on the Prime Minster to get rid of the two-metre social distancing rule.

They claim reducing it would mean more pubs could reopen and avoid redundancies, following the threats posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the Tories telling Boris Johnson how to make lockdown changes are Greg Clark, who has asked the PM to "urgently review" social distancing.

Social distancing should be reduced to 1.5 metres, he believes.

Tories are calling for the end of the 2 metre social distancing rule (Credit: pexels.com)

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The Chairman of the Science and Technology Select Committee hopes any change would come in before non-essential shops reopen on June 15.

He told The Telegraph: "The difference between two metres and 1.5 metres may seem small but it can be the difference between people being able to go to work and losing their jobs.”

It's an exercise in common sense economics.

David Davis MP has also added his voice to shortening the gap, designed to minimise the spread of infection.

He believes tweaks to the furlough scheme should also be made at the same time.

Read more: Graham Norton leaves viewers bewildered with 'confusing' lockdown message

'Waste of Furlough money'

Mr Davis said having to contribute to paying staff while remaining shut would hamper businesses.

He said: "What will happen is that they will shut, meaning the furlough money is wasted. And there will be no tax revenue from that business.

"If it is impossible for a business to come back into effective operation - pub, cafe, restaurant - it’s not reasonable to expect it to have deep pockets to keep going.

"It's an exercise in common sense economics. You must tie the reduction of the furlough scheme to the actions being taken."

Under review?

Earlier this week the Prime Minster said he has asked top scientists to review the existing rule. 

The UK - along with the US, Switzerland, Spain and Italy - has one of the largest contact gap requirements. The World Health Organisation recommends a gap of just one metre.

From Monday, groups of up to six can meet outside - including in people's own gardens.

"These changes mean friends and family can start to meet their loved ones, perhaps, seeing both parents or grandparents at once," the Prime Minister announced.

However, Government advisers have warned it is too soon to ease lockdown measures completely and fear it could cause a second spike in coronavirus cases.

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