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PM asks UK to behave as pub gardens open

·2-min read

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged England to "behave responsibly" as pub gardens reopen and restaurants resume outdoor dining in a major easing of the country's lockdown.

Shops deemed non-essential will also reopen on Monday, as will hairdressers, indoor gyms, swimming pools, nail salons and zoos in another stride back towards normality.

However, social mixing indoors will remain heavily restricted, with around 40 per cent of adults yet to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Johnson urged caution during the "major step forward" as a scientist advising the government warned the rules must be followed to minimise a possible rebound in case numbers.

"I'm sure it will be a huge relief for those business owners who have been closed for so long, and for everyone else it's a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed," Johnson said.

"I urge everyone to continue to behave responsibly and remember 'hands, face, space and fresh air' to suppress COVID as we push on with our vaccination programme."

The fanfare for the easing of restrictions has been muted by the national mourning for Prince Philip.

Johnson postponed his celebratory pint and government communications have been pared back to essential messages after Philip's death on Friday at the age of 99.

Meanwhile, Wales will also enjoy renewed freedoms from Monday, with non-essential retail reopening and border restrictions eased to permit travel again with the rest of the UK and Ireland.

Remaining school pupils will return to face-to-face teaching in Wales and Northern Ireland, in moves being echoed in Scotland as pupils return from their Easter breaks.

The "stay at home" order in Northern Ireland will also end as the number of people permitted to meet outdoors rises from six to 10.

In England, pubs and restaurants have been making changes during lockdown to maximise their ability to serve customers outside.

The previous 10pm curfew rule and the requirement to order a substantial meal with a drink have been scrapped, but social distancing must be observed.