Prime Minister Says The UK Will Be Moving In To ‘Step 2’ Of Lifting Lockdown – Including Reopening Non-Essential Retail Stores

By Rachael Grealish

The UK will be moving into ‘Step 2’ of the Prime Minister’s roadmap, easing the UK out of the COVID-19 lockdown.

During the coronavirus daily briefing today, Monday May 25, Boris Johnson confirmed nurseries and schools can reopen from June 1, along with open-air markets and says social distancing should be carried out safely for this.

The PM confirmed a further wave of reopening can go ahead from June 15, including all non-essential retail stores.

This is conditional on all safety measures and the five tests are met – but the PM said he was ‘confident’ moving on to ‘Step 2’ would go ahead as planned.

Johnson said this further date of June 15 was to give retailers and shops notice of the changes to the plan.

Open-air markets will be able to reopen as the PM says the openness of these places mean they represent a lower risk than indoor spaces.

The briefing came after Johnson had previously faced pressure to fire his senior political aide, Dominic Cummings, after he faced accusations of breaking lockdown rules.

The PM faced further questions about Cummings’ trip to Durham during lockdown, including saying he ‘regretted the confusion, anger and pain people feel’ about the situation.

A question that came up frequently for the PM was one around Cummings’ ‘needing’ to take the 60-mile round trip to Barnard Castle to ‘test his eyesight’ – Johnson responded talking about his own eyesight impairment while ill with COVID-19.

He went on to say to Robert Peston ‘people will have to make their mind up’ about Cummings’ actions, as he felt Cummings’ had answered a lot of questions and he would be unable to add ‘anything substantial’.

He continued to say Cummings acted ‘reasonably, legally and with integrity’ once again and claims he doesn’t believe anyone within Number 10 has done anything to detract from official messaging given to the public about COVId-19 guidelines and measures.

He contradicted the statement from Durham Constabulary which claimed the police spoke to Cummings, by saying the headline by the Guardian newspaper which claimed the same thing was ‘not true’.

The statement read: “Following significant public interest over the last few days, Durham Constabulary wish to add the following to our statement of Saturday, May 23rd.

“We can confirm that on April 1, an officer from Durham Constabulary spoke to the father of Dominic Cummings. Mr Cummings confirmed that his son, his son’s wife and child were present at the property. He told the officer that his son and son’s wife were displaying symptoms of coronavirus and were self-isolating in part of the property.

“We can further confirm that our officer gave no specific advice on coronavirus to any members of the family and that Durham Constabulary deemed that no further action was required in that regard. Our officer did, however, provide the family with advice on security issues.”

As of today, Monday, May 25, the total coronavirus death toll reached 36,914 in all settings; including 121 more deaths announced today, which the PM extended his sympathy once more for the lives lost.

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