The U.K. will begin adjusting certain coronavirus restrictions this week, with quarantine measures to be enforced for anyone travelling into the country, and a July 1 target for the reopening of the hospitality industry and other public places, including cinemas.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pre-recorded televised address on Sunday night has been highly anticipated over the last week as the U.K. lockdown, first enforced on March 23, enters its eighth week. In a 14-minute speech, Johnson laid out a “roadmap” to recovery, offering the first glimpse of how the country will begin restarting its economy.
Johnson said the lockdown will continue, but will now enter three phases in easing restrictions. This coming week, essential workers — such as construction workers — and those who can’t work from home are “actively encouraged” to go to work. Further, Britons will be able to get unlimited amounts of exercise as of Wednesday, up from the previous single outing allowed per day.
From June 1, there will be a phased reopening of shops and schools. By July, Johnson hopes the hospitality industry and some public places can begin reopening, which includes cinemas.
Further, a quarantine period will be enforced for anyone travelling into the U.K. (except for those from the Republic of Ireland). U.K. airlines and airports revealed over the weekend that passengers arriving from abroad will need to self-isolate at a private residence for 14 days. However, key workers such as those in the shipping industry and drivers transporting goods will be exempt.
The most relevant parts of Johnson’s Sunday address for the industry will undoubtedly be the quarantine period for all inbound travel — a directive that will affect any international productions that will look to resume in the U.K. — as well as the July target for hospitality and leisure industries.
The film and TV industry is currently being consulted on production protocols, which will be fed back into the government, and will inform standard guidelines set to be rolled out in the coming weeks.
“Over the next two months, we won’t be driven by hope or economic necessity; we’re going to be driven by science, data and public health,” said Johnson, who is to provide more details around his plan to Parliament on Monday. “All of this is conditional and depends on a series of big ‘ifs.’”
Johnson — who contracted coronavirus himself and had to be admitted to intensive care for three nights in April — has already launched a controversial new slogan to frame the country’s response to COVID-19. What was once “Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives” has now become “Stay Alert. Control the Virus. Save Lives.”
The U.K.’s death toll stands at 31,587. The country surpassed Italy — which has 30,395 deaths to date — as the hardest hit country in Europe last week.