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Boris Johnson orders official review into two-metre social-distancing rule amid call for guidance to be scrapped

There have been calls to scrap the two-metre rule as other countries have (PA)

2 min read

Boris Johnson has ordered an official review into the two-metre rule on social-distancing amid calls for it to be scrapped to help the hospitality sector.

The Prime Minister has been lobbied by business leaders and his own MPs to halve the guidance to one metre to allow the hospitality sector to re-open.

The comprehensive review, first reported by the Mail on Sunday, is said to effectively take control of the issue out of the hands of the Government's scientific advisers, who have repeatedly refused to sign off on any changes.

It is due to be completed by 4 July, the earliest date when pubs and restaurants could open again according to the Government’s roadmap out of the coronavirus lockdown.

Mr Johnson is believed to want to give a date for when the two-metre rule will be changed as early as this week, but will make the cut conditional on a continued fall in the Covid-19 infection rate.

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak strongly hinted the change would come soon, telling The Sun on Sunday: “The Prime Minister has said that he wants to review the rule and I support that.

“Other countries have shown that it is possible to work with something slightly different — it just depends where you are on the trajectory of the virus.

“We’ve made good progress and the PM is acutely aware of all that. He understands absolutely the difference it will make to shops and businesses, small and large, up and down the country.”

It comes amid continued warnings that maintaining a two-metre distance, coupled with an end to the furlough scheme, could be "horrendous" for the hospitality sector.

Richard Caring, chairman of Caprice Holdings which runs The Ivy restaurants, accused the Government of "killing the country" in the Mail on Sunday.

He said: "There are estimates saying we could have up to five million unemployed. It's not going to be five million - it's going to be more. 

“I don't think we've seen anything yet.

"The Government is actually killing the country right now and the hospitality industry is in the front line of the disaster."

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