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Britain Further Relaxes COVID-19 Restrictions

People sit in front of a pub that sells take-out drinks, in London, Britain, June 23, 2020.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Tuesday announced plans to further relax COVID-19 restrictions, including the opening of pubs, restaurants and hair salons beginning July 4.

Speaking before Parliament, Johnson said social distancing of two meters apart will be advised, but where they cannot, at least one meter is now acceptable, provided there are other “mitigations” such as masks. He said hair salons will also reopen with appropriate precautions, including the use of visors.

Johnson said he would like to open other “close contact” services such as nail salons as soon as they show they can operate in a “COVID-secure way.”

The prime minister said beginning July 4, they will allow most “leisure facilities” and tourist attractions to reopen “if they can do so safely,” including outdoor gyms and playgrounds, movie theaters, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, libraries, social clubs and community centers.

Johnson said the National Health Service (NHS) will be conducting test-and-trace activities, and he encouraged businesses and citizens to cooperate with the effort and respond to any local outbreaks by collecting contact details from customers.

Britain has had one of the highest death rates in the world during the pandemic, but the number of cases in the country has fallen steadily in recent weeks, allowing for the easing of restrictions.

Johnson said the government will not hesitate to “apply the brakes” and reintroduce restrictions, even at a national level, should COVID-19 cases rise again.