Covid-19: Reducing two-metre rule will save jobs, say Shropshire MPs
Plans to reduce social distancing guidelines from two metres will boost Shropshire's economy and save jobs, say the county's MPs.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce later today that the two-metre social distancing rule, introduced three months ago, will now be replaced by a 'one-metre-plus' guidance.
But Mr Johnson is likely to impose caveats on these rules, such as the increased need to wear face masks.
Earlier this month the Prime Minister announced there would be review of the two-metre review, and he is expected to make a statement today, exactly three months since the lockdown was announced.
Lucy Allan, MP for Telford, said the move would go a long way to restoring normality to people's lives.
She said: "I welcome the news that infection rates are falling, the virus is coming under control and local businesses are opening up.
"Reducing the two-metre social-distancing rule will make a huge difference to Telford’s local economy, not just in our hospitality and leisure sectors, where a reduction is essential but in all sectors where people are dealing with customers or working in groups, such as in our manufacturing sector.
"This is an important step in life getting back to normal and rebuilding our economy.”
Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin, said the move would prevent companies from being forced out of business and save jobs in the county.
"This will make the difference between some local businesses surviving and others who sadly do not," he said.
"It will save jobs in the local leisure, tourism and hospitality sectors and allow for a welcome return to part-normality."
But Mr Pritchard said it was vital that all other precautions were still followed to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
"This is a welcome step that will help get the local economy back on track."
Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow, said he hoped that pubs, guest houses and other businesses in the tourism sector would also be allowed to reopen.
"I'm hopeful the scientific advice from the review will allow the Government to relax the social-distancing rules," he said.
"I think it will make an enormous difference for businesses getting back to normal, and if the infection rate continues to decline it seems to be the right thing to do."
He said the move was particularly critical for the hospitality industry.
"I'm hopeful that the Prime Minister will announce that pubs, B&Bs, and tourism providers will be able to reopen, and for them a one-metre rule will make that feasible, whereas the two-metre rule might mean it is not."
North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson has been calling for the two-metre rule to be reduced to one-metre for some weeks.
"The two-metre rule is perhaps the most significant hurdle in ensuring that the economy can restart in a meaningful way," he said.
"For schools to reopen fully, for the hospitality sector to function, for public transport to be practical and shops not to be paralysed by queues, it needs to be brought down quickly to a one-metre rule, in line with the guidance of the World Health Organisation."