Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday announced a further easing of coronavirus restrictions in England from July 4, as part of plans to kickstart hospitality, culture and tourism.
Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen, as will hotels, bed and breakfasts, self-catering accommodation and campsites, alongside cinemas, museums and galleries.
Two separate households will also be allowed to meet up indoors for the first time since March.
“Today we can say that our long national hibernation is beginning to come to an end,” he told parliament, calling the lifting of restrictions a return to a “sense of normality”.
“After the toughest restrictions in peacetime history, we’re now able to make life easier for people to see more of their friends and family and help businesses get back on their feet and get people back into work,” he told lawmakers.
Britain has been one of the worst-hit countries by the global pandemic with the official death toll among people who have tested positive for COVID-19 standing at almost 43,000.
The government hopes the relaxing of rules will help the economy begin to recover from the impact of the virus lockdown, with predictions of recession, heavy losses and job cuts.
But Johnson warned that the restrictions would be re-imposed if necessary.
“We will not hesitate to apply the brakes and reintroduce restrictions… if required.”