Scientists have become increasingly alarmed in recent weeks by a sharp rise in cases due to the Delta variant of Covid-19, first identified in India, that is now responsible for 96 per cent of new cases across England.
And despite the much heralded success of the vaccine rollout, just half of all adults in England are not yet fully vaccinated with two doses of a jab.
This will likely prompt the prime minister to delay scrapping restrictions for the so-called ‘Freedom Day’ at his press conference at 6pm on Monday, despite pressure from his own party to ditch all measures.
What are the current rules in England?
People are currently allowed to meet in groups of 30 outdoors and six people (or two households) can meet indoors and stay overnight.
You are required to wear a face mask in various public settings, including on the train, in taxis, shopping centres, theatres and pubs and restaurants, unless you are sat eating a meal or drinking.
A number of businesses have now reopened after previous relaxations of the rules. So, you can go to a cafe, restaurant or pub and sit inside, as well as visit many High Street shops.
Entertainment and cultural venues such as cinemas, museums and galleries are open, as are sporting or fitness facilities such as gyms and swimming pools. However nightclubs have remained closed.
International travel is open but is part of a traffic light system. However, only a tiny handful of countries and territories remain on the “green list”, from which travellers do not have to quarantine after returning to the UK.
But travel within England is not restricted and hotels, bed and breakfasts and other accommodation providers are available to take bookings.
But what about weddings?
Currently weddings are allowed to take place but are capped at a maximum of 30 guests.
The government has come under increasing pressure in recent days to relax this rule after extensive press coverage highlighting upset couples who have been forced to consistently postpone their big day.
This morning, health minister Edward Argar suggested that England’s restrictions on weddings are set to be eased and added that couples waiting to wed are “very much” in the mind of Mr Johnson at the moment.
He told Sky News: “There will be a lot of couples who planned, hoped, to do it, put a line through it, done it again and rescheduled again.
“Not only does that cost money, but emotionally that is incredibly difficult for couples who want to have their special day and want to get married.
“Again, I’m not going to pre-empt what the Prime Minister will say later, but I know that weddings and people in that particular situation will be very much in his mind at the moment, it’s one of the things he has been looking at.”
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