Drinkers in pubs will be able to order from the bar again, as well as sitting in groups of more than six, from 19 July, after Boris Johnson announced that most of England's coronavirus restrictions will be removed.
This latest move means that as well as that, people attending hospitality venues will also no longer be asked to scan into places using the NHS Track and Trace app, and nightclubs can reopen for the first time since March 2020.
Masks will no longer be compulsory indoors, and football stadia will be allowed to operate at full capacity once again, making this the largest scaling back of rules since the start of the pandemic.
It's good news for sports fans, who will also be allowed to stand and cheer in pubs, but venues will still have to fill out Covid-19 risk assessments, which could include things like extra sanitation and one-way systems, but these will no longer be legally required.
Masks will also no longer be compulsory while indoors.
Drinkers will still be encouraged to sign in with Track and Trace, but it will also no longer be legally required. Boris Johnson's official spokesperson said: "The guidance will be that it is a good thing to do to support Test and Trace and contact tracing.
"But as more people are allowed into venues without booking, it becomes more challenging operationally so the regulation will be lifted.
"The regulations on things like table service go, all capacity limits would be lifted after that, and in addition to that, the gathering limits for the rule of six indoors and 30 outdoors would be lifted.
"The remaining businesses that are closed in law will be able to reopen, including nightclubs."
Whilst cases continue to rise sharply in the UK, deaths and hospitalisations have remained relatively steady, which has clearly played a part in the government's decision to relax restrictions almost completely.
Johnson said in a briefing yesterday that the government wanted to 'move away from legal restrictions' and instead allow people to 'make their own informed decisions about how to manage this virus'.
However, he also warned that the pandemic was 'far from over'.
Labour leader Keir Starmer described the decision to relax all the rules at once as 'reckless' and said masks should still be required on public transport.
The PM's own scientific advisers have also said they will continue to wear masks after 19 July.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul of the British Medical Association said that it was 'increasingly concerning' for the Prime Minister to 'decide to go full steam' with the easing, as hospital cases and deaths are rising.
He said that mask wearing should remain compulsory 'until the rampant spread of infection has been brought under control and more of the population are fully vaccinated'.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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