The government has announced the final lifting of Covid-19 restrictions will be delayed by four weeks to 19 July, provoking a mixed reaction across the national press.
Prime minister Boris Johnson has also confirmed the government does not plan to offer any more financial support to businesses, including an extension of the furlough scheme, which is due to start tapering off next month.
While several key European destinations are now not expecting UK restrictions on travel to their countries to be lifted before August.
Freedom put on ice
The final lifting of Covid restrictions in England has been put back to 19 July to allow more people to receive vaccinations and build a “wall of immunity” in the country. Although prime minister Boris Johnson has eased restrictions on the number of people allowed to attend weddings and wakes, as long as guests socially distance. (Metro)
PM: Curbs could go on and on
Boris Johnson has refused to guarantee that the new date for the final unlocking of restrictions of 19 July will not be pushed back further. The four-week delay to so-called “Freedom day” on 21 June has provoked “fury” among some backbench Conservative MPs who fear restrictions could continue beyond the current four-week delay. (The Daily Mail)
Business has hopes dashed as lockdown end delayed
Companies’ hopes of getting further financial support from the government following the delay to unlocking have been thwarted. Boris Johnson ruled out any changes to the current furlough plans with firms due to start paying 10% towards these costs from 1 July. He also said there would be no extension to the business support programme. (Financial Times)
UK ‘unlikely to reopen travel to major European resorts until August’
UK ambassadors have told tourism bodies in key destinations, such as Spain and Turkey, that restrictions by the British government on visiting their countries are unlikely to be lifted until August. Airlines including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and easyJet have already started cancelling flights until after 19 July. (Daily Telegraph)
Travel insurers criticised over extent of Covid cover
Travel insurance policies providing “complete” cover for Covid-related disruption to holidaymakers are barely available, according to research from consumer group Which? Only two policies out of the 263 travel insurance products analysed were found to give travellers “all round” financial protection. (BBC News)
UK unemployment rate drops as firms hire more staff
The country’s unemployment rate fell for the fourth consecutive month in April with firms taking on more staff as Covid restrictions started to be lifted on non-essential retail and some hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants. But employment figures are still well below pre-pandemic levels. (The Guardian)