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Behave yourselves, UK PM Johnson warns as pub reopening nears


© Reuters. Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street in London

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson will urge Britons to act responsibly when pubs reopen this weekend, warning that businesses, livelihoods and the future of the whole economy depends on it.

The latest phase in a gradual reopening of the British economy on Saturday will see pubs in England open their doors for the first time since mid March, as well as the reopening of restaurants, museums, hotels and other businesses.

The much-awaited event has been dubbed “Super Saturday” in the media, sparking worries that after months cooped up indoors, some could get carried away and risk spreading COVID-19.

“Ultimately the economic health of the whole country is dependent on every single one of us acting responsibly,” Johnson is expected to say at a news conference on Friday.

Many of the elements that define a pub will be missing when they reopen: with numbers limited, there will be no crowds, no standing at the bar and no live music. Venues will have to keep a record of customers in case of a virus outbreak.

Johnson has previously said he is looking forward to visiting a pub himself, but has warned that patrons will have to stick to new rules.

He is expected to repeat that caution on Friday, pointing to a spike in cases that has forced the English city of Leicester to be locked down. Johnson will warn that freedoms could be swiftly revoked if the virus takes hold elsewhere.

“Anyone who flouts social distancing and COVID-Secure rules is not only putting us all at risk but letting down those businesses and workers who have done so much to prepare for this new normal,” he will say. 

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