Pubs may have to ban shouting, singing and even playing music in order to be able to relax the two metre social-distancing rule, it has been reported.
Businesses might be able to allow their staff and customers to be closer together, but only if they prove they have implemented a number of measures that aim to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
Some of the measures being discussed reportedly include a ban on talking loudly and singing, as this could spread the virus further.
Music could also be switched off, so that people don’t have to shout to be heard over it.
Other potential measures include face coverings, click and collect instead of ordering from staff, and sensors replacing door handles.
According to The Sun, Whitehall sources have suggested that if businesses can show they have tried to reduce the risk of infection, they could be allowed to relax the rule which currently requires people to stay two metres away from those who do not live in their household.
In offices, staff will be encouraged to follow a one-way system and avoid hotdesking.
It comes as Boris Johnson faces mounting pressure from his own Tory MPs and the pub trade – who say they’ll go bust if it isn’t cut to 1.5m or 1m by the time pubs are scheduled to start reopening from July 4.
Earlier this week, he confirmed he will put the UK’s two-metre social distancing rule under “constant review”.
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)
aAt Wednesday’s PMQs, Mr Johnson said: “I’ve read many papers actually on the social distancing rule and it’s a very interesting point.
“I believe that those measures, the two-metre rule, need now to be kept under review.
“As we drive this disease down, as we get the incidence down, working together, I want to ensure we keep that two metre rule under constant review.”
That prompted fury from SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford – who said the PM was considering reducing the two-metre gap “far too soon”.
(Image: 10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty)
“That’s not the experts’ advice right now,” Mr Blackford told the House of Commons.
“SAGE reported that being exposed to the virus for six seconds at one metre is the same as being exposed for one minute at two metres.
“That is a significant increase in risk.”
He added people are “losing confidence in this government” after a U-turn on attempts to open schools, and “shambolic” quarantine plans for new arrivals to the UK.
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Mr Blackford fumed: “Will the Prime Minister continue to ignore the experts, or will he start following the advice of those who’ve actually read the scientific papers?”
In a sign the Government could be preparing to announce changes, Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, said at a daily Downing Street press briefing last week that the two-metre advice was “not a rule”.
He said: “It is wrong to portray this as a scientific rule that says it is two metres or nothing – that is not what the advice has been and it is not what the advice is now.”