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Boris Johnson confirms Step 4 delayed to 19 July

by Martin Fullard

Prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that Step 4 has been pushed back to 19 July. The original roadmap plan targeted 21 June as the “full and irreversible” final unlocking of the economy, subject to the virulence of the virus.

The extended target date is to allow all adults in the UK over the age of 18 to receive their first vaccination. Two doses of the vaccination reduce the risk of hospitalisation by 84%, professor Chris Whitty noted in the press conference.

The prime minister noted: “We cannot simply eliminate Covid. We must learn to live with it.”

Prime minister Johnson said weddings would be allowed to go ahead from 21 June without the need for a 30-person capacity limit, so long as social distancing can be maintained.

The pushing back of Step 4 means that current Step 3 rules still apply, which came into force on 17 May. At present, indoor events for 1,000 people (or 50% of venue capacity) can continue to run with Covid mitigation measures in place, such as masks and social distancing, while 4,000-person events (or 50% capacity) can take place outdoors. Seated stadium event for up to 10,000 can continue to take place, if the stadium has a minimum capacity of 20,000, and special dispensation will be given to stage 2 of the Event Research Programme, such as UEFA Euro 2020 football matches and Government-selected music events.

At present, there is no confirmation on the need for Covid-status certification: the requirement to show proof of vaccination, proof of negative test, or proof of natural antibodies.

The furlough scheme will begin to wind down from 30 June, and there has been no word from the Government on whether or not support will be extended.

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