Nearly seven weeks after lockdown was implemented in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson appears to be offering hope to those who wish to see it lifted.
The PM will reportedly reveal his plans for moving away from the pandemic lockdown in the next few days.
This is despite warnings from England’s Chief medical officer Chris Whitty that a second peak of coronavirus in the UK could be even worse.
According to some newspaper reports, the PM will announce how restrictions will be eased next Sunday.
But what could this look like?
Here are some ‘leaving lockdown’ measures we might see, based on speculative reports this week.
Going back to work
Tuesday May 26, the day after the Spring Bank Holiday, is said to have been circled as a potential date for a return to work.
However, it is thought this could be pushed back if infection rates have not fallen.
According to The Sun, an unnamed Downing Street source claimed the timing is still being discussed.
Also believed to be under discussion by the government is how to continue the ‘two metre rule’ for social distancing.
According to the Telegraph, SAGE ‘has been asked to consider the evidence’ that the guidance helps stem the spread of coronavirus.
A recommendation from SAGE is expected on Tuesday. The World Health Organisation suggests a distance of one metre should be maintained.
Non-essential shops forced to close could be some of the first businesses to re-open after lockdown.
Such business could include garden centres, book shops, car showrooms and fashion outlets.
Pubs and fast food restaurants
Reports have suggested pub-goers could face a limit of two or three drinks if and when pubs reopen.
For staff, staggered shifts and ensuring minimal contact with fellow employees and customers are expected to be among the measures required.
However, people should not get their hopes up about returning to their local any time soon.
Some experts have claimed gatherings in pubs and restaurants may not be possible until 2021 at the earliest.
Nonetheless, McDonald’s will begin to open branches again from May 13, with 15 restaurants carrying out delivery orders to begin with.
KFC is reopening 100 branches, also for deliveries only.
And Burger King also hopes to get 350 of its restaurants going again by the end of June.
All three fast-food outlets will be operating a limited menu until further notice.
Commuters may have to check their health with a ‘fever test’ before taking buses or trains, according to some reports.
Others suggest passengers will need to reserve a slot online for some busy services before boarding to reduce overcrowding.
First class carriages and stops at some stations could may also cease to be in use.
Aviation experts reckons it could take between two and five years for flights to resume levels seen before the pandemic.
Similarly, bosses at Heathrow are doubtful of a quick recovery – even with the likes of EasyJet saying they will keep the middle seat in a row of three unoccupied.
However, pressure will be on to maintain social distancing and checking the health of passengers before they board.
Passengers may have to wear masks during flights.
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