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Boris Johnson has confirmed that most of England’s remaining Covid-19 laws will be lifted on July 19, but companies will now be “expected” to apply new guidelines to control the disease.

The British Prime Minister wants to do away with “government by diktat”, but he will give businesses, other public bodies and individuals the responsibility of trying to contain the epidemic, which is spreading rapidly.

Johnson announced that an unspecified list of ‘high risk’ indoor locations, such as nightclubs, should ‘expect’ to require Covid-19 certification from their customers, although this is not a requirement legal.

Likewise, the prime minister said he was removing the “work from home” rule, but said he did not want all workers to return “as one” to offices.

Another directive will say that the public is “expected” to wear a mask in crowded places, including public transport and shops, but there will be no legal obligation to do so.

With ministers admitting that the number of daily cases could reach a record 100,000 after legal restrictions were lifted, Johnson sent a message of “caution and restraint”: “Keep thinking of others and consider the risks,” he said. -he declares.

The media speech on ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19 has been replaced by a realization in Downing Street that the public, according to opinion polls, would support a much more cautious approach to lifting the final restrictions.

As ministers bragged earlier this month about throwing off their masks at the earliest opportunity, Downing Street said on Monday that all ministers would follow guidelines after July 19 to cover their faces in crowded situations.

The new government approach will replace legal certainty with a number of legal gray areas, which may cause consternation in certain sectors of activity.

For example, so far government officials have not been able to say precisely what types of sites will be “expected” to require Covid-19 certification from customers.

The rule is expected to primarily cover indoor places where people mix in large numbers in enclosed spaces, such as nightclubs, but officials were unable to say whether the directive would apply to pubs.

While officials said they expected businesses “to behave reasonably, given the high prevalence of the disease,” they confirmed that a nightclub could legally operate until its fire limit without requiring Covid-19 certificates.

Public transport is also likely to become a contested space when it comes to wearing masks, with the removal of any legal requirement to wear a face covering but a government “expectation” that people should.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is discussing with union leaders and transport bosses the advisability of requiring the wearing of masks in the capital’s public transport as a “condition of transport”.

The Prime Minister was asked why the government was not placing consistent restrictions on mask wearing when the pandemic was not yet gone.

Johnson said the government was following the principle of “trying to move towards personal responsibility” over masks and social distancing because he said he wanted people to be “extremely careful”.

“There is a world of difference between sitting alone on an empty train platform or in a crowded subway train. In the crowded subway, as a government you would expect people to wear masks and I have no doubt that is what people will do. “

Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said there was “no ideal date” to lift legal restrictions and scientists disagreed on when it should happen.

“There is no clear evidence that a delay now is going to make a difference,” he said. “What will make a difference is going slowly.” He said Johnson’s approach reflected his idea of ​​”going slow”.


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