What will open on England's 'Independence Day' as lockdown measures are eased

A woman walks past Irish artist Emmalene Blake's mural of singer Sinead O'Connor adapted amid lockdown.
Pubs and restaurants are among businesses gearing up for opening on 4 July. Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Dubbed England's Independence Day, pubs, museums and restaurants are among those businesses that will be opening their doors as lockdown measures are eased from Saturday July 4.

But what will Super Saturday look like? What can open? And what will those places that pre-March were so familiar to us look like in the new normal?

  • What can open?

Pubs, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers, art galleries and museums, theme parks, cinemas, community centres, libraries, hotels, campsites, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship have all been given the green light to open their doors once again from Saturday.

Bingo halls and model villages are also on the list.

Phil Weaver, owner of The Old Smithy pub in Church Lawford, Warwickshire, serves a pint of beer from behind a protective screen Credit: Joe Giddens/PA
  • What will not be opening?

While theatres and music venues have been given the go ahead to open their doors, they are not actually allowed to do what they are meant to do.

Government guidelines prohibit live performances, which rules out plays, musicals and gigs, although venues can screen a previously filmed show.

Swimming pools - even outdoor ones - must stay closed, despite calls from campaigners who say lane swimming is naturally socially distant and the virus, experts believe, has a lower transmission rate in water and chlorine.

Divers cleaning the inside window of the seal tank at Tynemouth Aquarium in North Shields, as it prepares to open on Saturday. Credit: PA

And bad news for those who like a workout, indoor gyms, yoga studios and fitness centres will also remain shut.

Nightclubs, casinos, bowling alleys and indoor skating rinks, soft-play areas, spas, nail bars, beauty salons and tanning salons, massage and tattoo and piercing parlours are also deemed not yet sufficiently Covid-19 secure and their doors will stay closed for now.

  • What will going for a pint look like?

While pubs and restaurants will be allowed to open from Saturday, they will look a little different from the last time you stepped in one.

Government guidance suggests staff should wear face coverings and take other precautions such as providing hand sanitiser and putting one-way systems in place to keep customers safe.

Venues are also being asked to keep a record of all visitors so the NHS can trace any virus outbreak.

And there will be no more queuing at the bar, all orders should be taken from the table, possibly using smartphone apps.

Some restaurants have introduced digital menus to avoid customers handling a hard copy and you are very likely to see protective screens dividing tables in bars and dining areas.

Loud music and performances are banned so people do not have to raise their voices, which can increase transmission of the virus.

Protective screens dividing tables at a Wetherspoons pub The Mossy Well in Muswell Hill, London. Credit: PA
  • Do I still have to keep a social distance of two metres?

No. From Saturday people who are not part of the same household will be told to keep to the one metre-plus rule.

The “plus” is what Prime Minister Boris Johnson called mitigation, and means taking extra steps to keep safe such as wearing a mask, regularly washing hands and sitting side by side with people, rather than face to face.

  • And can I meet up with friends there?

You can meet in groups of up to two households (but no more) at your local but you must socially distance.

Under these new rules, the government will not allow you to "interact socially" with anyone outside the group you're there with even if you know them.

A member of staff at Little Italy restaurant in Leicester Square, London, stacks chairs as part of preparations ahead of reopening. Credit: PA

  • Will cinemas look different?

Summer blockbusters are back on the big screen but cinemas will be looking a little different this year.

Not all cinema chains are opening on Saturday - Cineworld has pushed back its reopening until 31 July, while others like Vue are planning on a phased reopening.

Socially distanced seating plans are also likely to impact capacity.

Cineworld, which has about 100 cinemas around the UK, has said it has updated its booking system to ensure social distancing when theatres do open, and adapted its daily movie schedules to manage queues and avoid the build-up of crowds in lobbies.

Vue said it had taken lessons from the successful reopening of its cinemas in several European countries.

  • Can I visit my friends and family in their homes?

Two households can start meeting indoors as long as the one metre-plus rule is observed.

This means you can go into other people’s houses for the first time since March.

Two households meeting for dinner can sit at the same table but must not touch and should attempt to uphold the one metre-plus rule.

  • Can I now get married?

Bridal consultant Felicity Gray wears a face mask as she quarantines a wedding dress for 72 hours after sanitising it. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

Yes. Weddings can now take place but ceremonies will be capped at a maximum of 30 guests.

Receptions or parties after weddings should not take place, but small celebrations – with groups of up to two households indoors, or up to six people from different households outdoors – will be permitted.

Services should be concluded in the “shortest reasonable time”, and the guidance states: “Where the exchanging of rings is required or desired for the solemnisation of the marriage or the formation of the civil partnership, hands should be washed before and after.

“The rings should be handled by as few people as possible.”

It is understood that couples who do not live together before a wedding ceremony will be able to exchange rings and kiss, despite the social distancing rules.

  • What will happen in locked down Leicester?

A council worker carries rubbish from a coronavirus testing centre in Leicester. Credit: Jacob King/PA

A flare-up of Covid-19 cases in Leicester means that rules in the East Midlands city will not be relaxed as quickly as they will elsewhere in England.

Rather than businesses reopening on Saturday, Leicester and some areas of Leicestershire have been forced to close schools and non-essential retail outlets, much like they were elsewhere earlier in the pandemic.

These rules will remain in place for at least two weeks from when they were announced on Monday June 29.