On June 23rd, Boris Johnson announced a new ‘one metre plus’ rule to help more businesses reopen but what exactly does the new guideline mean?

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has seen our lives drastically change in 2020.

Not only have we been forced to stay at home but shops, pubs, restaurants and other such businesses have remained shut for months.

The UK went into lockdown on March 23rd in the months since we’ve seen slight easings of the lockdown rules.

On June 23rd, three months to the day since the UK went into lockdown, Boris Johnson announced the latest and most extensive easing of lockdown rules yet.

As well as revealing the latest swathe of businesses that would be eligible to reopen, the Prime Minister announced that the two-metre social distancing rule that we’ve been followed will be eased as well.

However, the government’s new ‘one metre plus’ rule has certainly caused quite a stir.

Lockdown restrictions to ease further

Over the course of June, we’ve seen a number of lockdown restrictions eased with non-essential shops starting to open as well as the long-awaited restart of Premier League football.

As part of the June 23rd briefing, Boris Johnson officially announced that a new range of businesses, including pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas, would be allowed to reopen.

The Prime Minister also revealed that the two-metre social distancing rules we’ve been following for the past few months would be eased as well with a new ‘one metre plus’ rule coming into effect.

Photo by Frank Augstein – WPA Pool/Getty Images

What does ‘1 metre plus’ mean?

  • The ‘one metre plus’ rule states that if you can’t maintain a two-metre distance from someone, you should stay at least one metre apart plus the use of mitigations such as wearing a face-covering or turning you face away from others.

The new rule continues the government trend of introducing ambiguous guidelines as two contradictory messages can be taken from the ‘one metre plus’ rule.

The key part to understand, is that the two-metre distancing rule is still in place.

However, the new ‘one metre plus’ rule has been introduced to allow businesses such as hairdressers, pubs and restaurants to reopen where two-metre social distancing would be difficult.

Photo by THIERRY ROGE/Belga/AFP via Getty Images

Social media reacts to new announcement

While the reopening of pubs, bars and restaurants is undoubtedly a popular move, the tweaking of the two-metre social distancing rule hasn’t gone down quite as well.

In response to the new ‘one metre plus’ rule, several Twitter users have spoken out against the new guidelines.

This Twitter user offered a reminder that the government’s own chief scientific adviser has stated that the two-metre should be in place for as long as the pandemic lasts.

Meanwhile, this Twitter user delves into the double meanings that can be taken from the new ‘one metre plus’ rule.

And finally, this Twitter user’s tongue-in-cheek response to the new rule sums up the new guideline quite well.

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