SOCIAL distancing has been in place for Brits since the beginning of the pandemic.
Those restrictions though have now come to an end as Freedom Day, July 19, 2021, has arrived.
A group of young people social distancingCredit: London News Pictures
When did social distancing end?
Social distancing came to an end on July 19, 2021 – roughly 16 months after they were first introduced.
The measures have been on the cards since Boris Johnson unveiled his lockdown roadmap in February as he outlined his plans to ease restrictions.
He said: “Our journey back towards normality will be subject to resolving a number of key questions and to do this we will conduct four reviews.”
Initially in May 2021, it was reported that social distancing would be scrapped from June 21 to allow pubs and cinemas to fully reopen – with face masks remaining.
While the restrictions have been lifted Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned the public to still be “cautious” and to still take precautions where necessary.
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Previous Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed in May that England is on course to end all social distancing measures in mid-June.
When asked whether the vaccine rate combined with falling hospitalisation and death offers “real hope” that it could happen, he simply replied: “Yes.”
Hancock was replaced as Health Secretary after CCTV images were published showing him passionately kissing his aide.
And he admitted he had “broken social distancing rules” after lecturing the country on coronavirus regulations throughout the pandemic.
He was replaced by Savid Javid, who backed the PM’s decision to go ahead with the final easing of restrictions which was announced in a press conference on July 5, 2021.
Among a raft of new measures Boris Johnson confirmed that he would remove almost all legal restrictions including social distancing, mandatory masks and orders to work from home.
Social distancing guidelines are still to keep 2 metres apart from people you do not live withCredit: Getty Images – Getty
What are the new rules?
The fourth and final stage of the lockdown roadmap came into effect from July 19.
Pubs and restaurants are now able to open fully with no capacity limits.
The opening of nightclubs and music venues also got the go ahead with no restrictions on capacity limits.
This also included music festivals which can welcome back crowds for the first time since 2019.
Can I meet with my friends at pubs or restaurants?
Pubs and restaurants are now be able to operate with no capacity limits as the rule of six is scrapped.
Both indoor and outdoor dining is allowed and customers can now order at the bar instead of via table service only.
Face coverings are no longer be mandatory, but use is recommended in enclosed and crowded public spaces
Pubs, bars and restaurants also no longer have a 10pm curfew.