Pubs ‘will reopen LAST’ in phased exit from coronavirus lockdown and restrictions on outdoor spaces will lift first – The Sun

PUBS will reopen LAST in a phased exit from the coronavirus lockdown, it was claimed today.

Brits will remain in lockdown for another three weeks to slow the spread of the deadly bug – with the UK government reportedly two weeks away from announcing how the country will emerge from the drastic measures.

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But a government source claimed to the Daily Mail that one plan is to lift the lockdown in phases.

Under the possible plans, outdoor spaces would be opened first while pubs would be last.

The "best case scenario" could see restrictions eased for non-essential shops from early to mid-May.

The guidelines could again be relaxed by June and July – allowing for pubs and restaurants to reopen  by the end of summer.

There has been growing pressure on the government to outline its plan, with economic paralysis wreaking havoc on jobs and businesses.

Around a million out-of-work Brits have tried to claim Universal Credit since the shutdown started last month.

Two in three construction firms are set to fold by June unless the government steps in to help, with firms begging for clarity amid confusion on when the lockdown will end.

Dominic Raab this weekend confirmed Britain would remain in lockdown for three more weeks until it passes five key tests.

  1. The NHS must still be able to cope – with the confidence that critical care and special treatment can continue across the UK
  2. A sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates so experts are confident that the peak has passed
  3. The rate of infection falling to "manageable levels"
  4. Making sure that Britain has enough testing capacity and PPE to relax measures
  5. Ensuring that the changes will not risk a second peak of infections that overwhelm the NHS

But he failed to outline the exit strategy – sparking criticisms that ministers have been "treating the public like children".

Yet some ministers have hit back – with business secretary Alok Sharma last night flagging concerns that laying out the options to the public could risk "muddying the waters".

The UK death toll yesterday reached more than 14,000 with more than 108,000 infections up and down the country.

Last week, Brits were warned that coronavirus restrictions could remain in place in some form until a vaccine is developed – which could take around 18 months.

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More severe restrictions will be gradually phased out but some, such as remote working and isolating if you have symptoms of the virus, will remain in some form next year.

Scientists say the discovery of a vaccine is the only genuine "exit strategy" from the virus, meaning the country will have to adjust to a "new normal".

Insisting Britain was at “a delicate and dangerous stage” of this pandemic, Mr Raab told the No10 press conference on Thursday: “We need to be patient a while longer. If we rush to relax the measures in place, we would risk wasting all the sacrifices and all the progress we have made.

“We’ve just come too far, we’ve lost too many loved ones, we’ve already sacrificed far too much to ease up now.”

He added: “It’s been an incredible national team effort. Now is not the moment to give the coronavirus a second chance.

“Let’s stick together, let’s see this through.”

Despite other European countries easing measures, Mr Raab refused to set out any timeline on when the lockdown will end — dubbing that “irresponsible”.

But he did offer a grim insight into government thinking that it could last into June.

He said Boris Johnson’s scenario from March 19 of “three months to come through the peak is broadly still the outline”.

Labour's new leader Keir Starmer accused Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, of being "reluctant" to rubberstamp any exit plan while Boris Johnson recovers from the virus at Chequers.

Speaking on BBC's Coronavirus Newscast podcast last night, Sir Keir said: "I think that throughout this they've struggled with taking decisions quickly enough.

"It feels as though they've been in a position probably for a week or 10 days now where it's been difficult for the Government to make big decisions."


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