Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
Cinemas, museums and art galleries to re-open on 4th July
23 June 2020, 07:50
Boris Johnson will announce today that cinemas, museums and art galleries will be able to re-open their doors from next month in the latest easing of the coronavirus lockdown in England.
To ensure people can return safely, the venues will have to introduce one-way systems, spaced queuing, increased ventilation and pre-booked tickets.
Boris Johnson is due to set out the results of a review of the two-metre social-distancing rule in the Commons on Tuesday - amid a widespread expectation it will be cut to one metre.
Much of the focus has been on the hospitality sector - with detailed guidance due on how pubs, bars and restaurants can start gradually to re-open from July 4. However it is now expected there will be guidance for sections of the arts and cultural sector on how they can welcome back visitors under the latest stage of the Government's road map for lifting the lockdown.
A No 10 source said: "We are only able to move forward this week because the vast majority of people have taken steps to control the virus.
"But the more we open up, the more important it is that everyone follows the social distancing guidelines. We will not hesitate to reverse these steps if it is necessary to stop the virus running out of control."
Details of the review were being finalised at meeting on Monday evening attended by the Government's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, and the chief medical officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty. Mr Johnson will then brief the Cabinet on the plan for England on Tuesday morning before setting out the details in Parliament.
Earlier, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government was able to act now because the numbers of new coronavirus cases, admissions to hospital, and deaths from the diseases were all continuing to fall.
He told the daily No 10 briefing that just one-in-1,700 people were now infected with the virus, compared to one-in-400 a month ago.
"All these figures are coming down and pointing in the right direction. It shows that while there is still much to do, we are clearly making progress," he said.
However, Dr Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer for England, said that even as the rules were eased people still needed to follow social distancing, including regular hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene.
"There is a critical point here that says just because life is feeling a bit more back to normal don't suddenly jump to where you were this time last year. We need to learn to go forward with restrictions in our lives," she said.