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Pubs, restaurants and shops about to reopen as English lockdown eases

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England’s coronavirus lockdown is about to get a long-awaited easing, with pubs, restaurants and much-missed hairdressers all able to tentatively restart operations.

Non-essential retail, as well as indoor gyms and swimming pools, can also reopen from Monday as lives take another step back towards normality.

Libraries, zoos and nail salons can also open their doors again as greater outdoor interaction is permitted while mixing with other households indoors remains heavily restricted.

Businesses and citizens eagerly anticipated the renewed freedoms, but any fanfare for the easings has been somewhat muted by the national mourning for the Duke of Edinburgh.

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Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson postponed his celebratory pint and government communications have been pared back to just essential messages after Prince Philip’s death on Friday.

Elsewhere in the UK, Wales will also see freedoms returned, with non-essential retail reopening and border restrictions eased to permit travel again with the rest of the UK and Ireland.

School pupils will return to face-to-face teaching in Wales and Northern Ireland, moves being echoed in Scotland as students return from their Easter breaks.

The “stay at home” order in Northern Ireland will also end as the number of people permitted to meet outdoors rises from six to 10.

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In England, after months of being closed, pubs and restaurants have undertaken renovations to maximise their ability to serve customers outside.

But the British Beer and Pub Association estimates that just 40 per cent of pubs in England have the space to reopen for outdoor service.

The 10pm curfew rule and a requirement to order a substantial meal with a drink have been scrapped, but social distancing must be abided by.

Domestic holidays can resume to an extent, with overnight stays permitted in self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets and campsites where indoor facilities are not shared.

But these can only be used by members of the same household or support bubble.

International holidays remain banned, amid a row over the cost of testing plans to assist their return.

Inside socialising continues to be prohibited.

It will be the third in a series of easings since the third national lockdown was legally imposed in England on January 6.

The next date earmarked on the road map to reopening is May 17, when socialising indoors will be permitted under the ‘rule of six’ if the prime minister judges the vaccination program is safely breaking the link between infections and deaths.

After three months of full national lockdown, the British government said on Saturday that a further 40 people had died in the UK within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test.

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An additional 2589 lab-confirmed cases were also announced.

More than 60 per cent of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to official figures stating that 32 million people have received a jab.

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