The British government has retreated on further opening of primary schools while retail and zoos are expected to open from June 15.
The aim was to open all cases of primary schools for at least four weeks before the start of summer holidays in July, but England has now decided against it.
Making the announcement, Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson said, “We believe this cautious, phased return is the most sensible course of action to take. While we are not able to welcome all primary children back for a full month before the summer, we continue to work with the sector on next steps where we would like to see schools that have the capacity bring back more children to do so before the summer holidays.”
He added that efforts will be made to bring all children back to school in September.
As of now, year 1 and 6 are the only primary classes that have been called back but the attendance has been very low in schools. Parents are also not confident of sending their children back to school yet.
Earlier this week, it was announced that places of worship will open for individual prayers from June 15. Individual prayer has been described as “a person or household entering the venue to pray on their own and not as part of a group, led prayer or communal act. They should be socially distanced from other individuals or households.”
Arun Thakur, trustee Shree Ram Mandir and president of National Council of Hindu temples, UK, said, “For better safety for our devotees and the priest, we will open for individual prayers from July 1 after completing the risk assessment of the temple. Other temples have been instructed to open as and when they feel safe to do so keeping in line with the social distancing measure and hygiene as pert the government guidelines.”
It will be left to the discretion of the place of worship as to when they consider it safe to open.
In addition to non-essential shops and places of worship, it is expected that zoos and safari parks might open on June 15 too. This comes ahead of the PM Johnson’s Thursday debate in which MPs were to raise the issue of permanent shutting down of zoos if they do not open now.
Alok Sharma, the Business Secretary in the 10 Downing briefing on June 9 announced the opening of non-essential shops as long as the retailers follow the safety guidelines. He also dismissed the speculation on early opening of pubs, restaurants, bars and hairdressers and confirmed that “at the earliest” they will open by July 4.
The 2-metre social distancing rule is the norm everywhere as of now but in the case of outlets, pubs etc this might result in big losses. Its estimated by the UK hospitality industry outlets will profit at half the capacity with 2m rule but of the 1m rule is put in place then the revenue might go up to 60-75 per cent.
Responding to the possibility of 1-metre rule, Sharma said: “We, of course, take advice from our scientists and of course when it is safe to do so we will see whether you can move to a shorter distance but ultimately we keep all of these things under review.”
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