Rachel has welcomed further changes to lockdown measures in England to enable people to see more of their friends and family, help businesses get back on their feet and get people back in their jobs.

The changes were announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson today (23rd June).

From Saturday 4th July, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines.

From the same date, two households will be able to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures. People can also now enjoy staycations in England with the reopening of accommodation sites.

In order to begin restoring the arts and cultural sector, some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen, if they can do so safely – this includes outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, as well as libraries, social clubs, places of worship and community centres.

Following a review, the Prime Minister has also set out that where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission.

In welcoming the further changes, Rachel said:

“It has been a tough few months for us all and we’ve all made great sacrifices as part of the national effort to tackle coronavirus by protecting the NHS and saving lives.

“From the outset of this pandemic, the Government has trusted in the common sense and perseverance of the public, and this approach has paid off thanks to their response.

“Thanks to the progress we’ve made, with the number of new infections declining, hospital admissions and the number of deaths falling, we can now go further and safely ease the lockdown in England.

“I very much welcome the changes that have been made. Businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector, have been hit hard by the impact of coronavirus. I now hope they can begin to recover now there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“With the shielding guidance also changing, I’m particularly looking forward to seeing my parents, who are in their eighties, again. I know that many families in Redditch will be overjoyed to be able to re-unite with their loved ones again.

“However, we must remain cautious and follow the social distancing guidelines. This fight isn’t over, but we’ve made enough progress to continue returning to some sort of new normality.”