Jul 5, 2021 - World

Mask and distancing requirements in England to end on July 19

Boris Johnson speaks at a podium.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives an update on relaxing COVID-19 restrictions at a virtual press conference on July 5, 2021. Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said that England will lift mask requirements and social distancing rules later this month amid rising coronavirus cases, AP reports.

Driving the news: Individuals in England will no longer be required by law to wear face masks in indoor public spaces. Businesses can still require masks and remove distancing restrictions, but Johnson said fighting the pandemic would now be a matter of "personal responsibility," and Britain would have to “learn to live with this virus," per the AP.

  • The country is scheduled to move to its final stage of lifting lockdown restrictions on July 19, but a final decision will come on July 12.
  • Johnson expects to see all night clubs, museums, theaters and sports venues allowed to operate without capacity limits or distancing measures come July 19, according to The Washington Post.
  • Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will determine their own rules for lifting restrictions.

The big picture: Coronavirus infections are rising to 25,000 a day, driven largely by the Delta variant, according to the Post.

  • Johnson said the decision to move towards reopening is due to the effectiveness of the vaccines, per the Post. About 85% of the adult population in Britain has received a first vaccine dose.
  • He acknowledged there would likely be an increase in deaths and cases after the restrictions are lifted.
  • "This pandemic is far from over,” Johnson said, adding “we must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from COVID.”
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