English Social Distancing May Be Relaxed Soon, Sunak Says

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U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak suggested that social distancing rules in England could soon be relaxed, saying a decision is due next week.

The 2-meter (6 feet, 6 inches) rule, which was introduced in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak,has been criticized by some politicians and business groups for undermining efforts to reopen shops, bars and other parts of the economy.

“I’m very understanding of the calls for action on that, particularly for the hospitality industry,” Sunak said in a BBC interview on Saturday. “That’s something that will make an enormous difference, I think, to many businesses who are keen to see a change.”

Non-essential shops opened this week, and pubs, cafes and restaurants are slated to restart as early as July 4. The U.K. lowered its five-stage threat level for the pandemic to three on Friday as Prime Minister Boris Johnson signaled that all students in England will beback in school by September. Devolved authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are makingdecisions separately on how to leave lockdown.

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