As if we ever needed the Government’s permission, Michael Gove says that Brits will be allowed to hug friends and family from May 17th – that is, “all being well”! MailOnline has the story.
The Cabinet Office minister said “intimate contact” between people in different households is set to return when the latest stage of the roadmap is reached in a week’s time.
Boris Johnson is set to confirm the relaxation at a Downing Street press conference tomorrow, after the vaccine rollout and plunging infections led to huge pressure from Tory MPs to speed up his plans…
It is also expected that funerals will be permitted to take place for up to 30 people from May 17th – a month earlier than anticipated.
But rules for weddings and “other life or commemorative events” will update as expected, with only 30 guests able to attend indoor receptions until June 21st.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Gove said that the Government wanted to restore “contact between friends and family”.
He said: “All being well, the Prime Minister will confirm tomorrow that there will be a relaxation, we’ve already indicated a proportionate relaxation on international travel, very limited at this stage because we have to be safe.
“In the same way, as we move into stage three of our road map it will be the case that we will see people capable of meeting indoors.
“And without prejudice to a broader review of social distancing, it is also the case that friendly contact, intimate contact, between friends and family is something we want to see restored.”
Asked if that meant hugs will be allowed again from around May 17th, he said: “Yes.”
Gove also said that “we’ll be seeing more about [whether mask-wearing rules will continue in secondary schools beyond May 17th] shortly”, despite Education Secretary Gavin Williamson signalling last week that the decision had already been made.
Mr Gove said he was “genuinely worried” about Indian coronavirus variants and whether they might take hold in the U.K.. But he said currently there was not an issue that would derail the roadmap.
He said the Government is reviewing whether pupils should continue to wear masks in schools from May 17th – something Gavin Williamson previously said will be dropped.
Ministers have faced calls from union leaders for face coverings to remain in secondary schools and colleges for longer.
When asked whether mask-wearing in schools will end, Mr Gove said: “What we want to do throughout is balance public health by making sure we can return to normal as quickly as possible.”
“I won’t pre-empt that judgment, we’ll be seeing more about it shortly.”
It seems as though the Government could still bend to pressure from the teaching unions yet.
The MailOnline report is worth reading in full.
Stop Press: It is becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between reality and spoof: BBC News has produced a report on “how to hug safely” that could well have been published on Babylon Bee.
Stop Press 2: Silkie Carlo, the Director of Big Brother Watch, has pointed out that hugging was never not “allowed”.