Social distancing rules to be removed when England enters final stage of roadmap

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The news could mean that theatres, cinema, restaurants and pubs could open again at full capacity as England paves its way back to pre-pandemic times.

A report in The Times has claimed the ‘one metre’ rule will be removed but masks will still need to be worn to put up a defence against Covid.

It comes as 8,000 revellers in Liverpool danced shoulder-to-shoulder at a two-night clubbing experience and an outdoor Blossoms gig from April 30 to May 2.

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‘We are close to turning a corner’

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urged caution in the “last lap” of the fight against coronavirus, arguing there is only “a little bit more time” until all legal restrictions on social interaction are removed.

The Cabinet minister said on Sunday that “steady steps” out of lockdown are “the smart way to go” so that the many sacrifices are not squandered as people plead for hugs between family members to be permitted again sooner.

Mr Raab also said that “all the different contingencies” are being looked at when asked about a reported plan to consider offering vaccines to secondary school pupils as soon as September.

He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “I know that people are hankering to go a bit faster but actually we feel vindicated at taking steady steps out of the lockdown is the smart way to go.

“We’re very close now to really turning the corner and I think we still need to be careful to go as I said we don’t want to see the gains lost and the sacrifices that have been made undone.

“By the time we get to June 21 almost all social restrictions will be lifted so there’s only a little bit more time to go, but it’s right to make sure we do that in a careful way."

According to The Times, huge events in football stadiums will still be scaled back because of large numbers.

A government source told the newspaper: “The evidence we’ve got so far from the pilots is very positive and the general background on data is hugely encouraging in terms of numbers, falling deaths and hospitalisations.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out four key dates for the gradual relaxation of restrictions across the country, leading up to 21 June when it is hoped all legal limits will be lifted.

Mr Johnson said he will be guided by “data not dates” meaning plans might change if there is a change in the Covid situation and what is hoped will happen over the coming weeks.

A gradual easing of restrictions, with a five-week gap in between phases, will give the government ample time to assess the situation after each relaxation of rules.

Additional reporting by PA.