Boris Johnson unveils plan for 'significant return to normality' by Christmas

17 July 2020, 12:32 | Updated: 17 July 2020, 12:43

Boris Johnson updated the public in a press conference today
Boris Johnson updated the public in a press conference today. Picture: PA
Polly Foreman

By Polly Foreman

The Prime Minister has announced the next steps of the easing of lockdown in England.

Boris Johnson today expressed his hope for a 'significant return to normality' by Christmas, announcing plans for further easing of coronavirus restrictions in England.

In a press conference this morning (Friday 17 July), the Prime Minister announced that employers will be able to use discretion to bring workers back from 1 August, and that public transport may be used for all journeys immediately.

Read more: Schools and shops to reopen in Leicester as Matt Hancock announces an easing of some lockdown measures

Boris Johnson says he hopes for a return to normality by Christmas
Boris Johnson says he hopes for a return to normality by Christmas. Picture: PA

When announcing the measures, he said: "While planning for the worst, I strongly mean we should also hope for the best. That means looking forward with optimism."

Mr Johnson said that he hoped we would return to a sense of normality "possibly in time for Christmas", adding that the plan "remains conditional" on the UK pulling together to win its "long fight" against coronavirus.

Read more: Government's new interactive map reveals number of coronavirus cases in your postcode

The UK was placed into lockdown on 23 March
The UK was placed into lockdown on 23 March. Picture: PA

He said: "It is my strong and sincere hope that we will be able to review the outstanding restrictions and allow a more significant return to normality from November at the earliest - possibly in time for Christmas."

Employers will be able to use discretion to bring staff back to work from August 1
Employers in England will be able to use discretion to bring staff back to work from August 1. Picture: PA

Speaking about the return to work, he said: "Instead of government telling people to work from home, we are going to give employers more discretion, and ask them to make decisions about how their staff can work safely.

The devolved nations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all have the power to make their own decisions on lockdown easing.

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