The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday evening that all coronavirus legal restrictions will end in England on July 19, subject to a final review of the data on July 12.
Limits on social contact will cease, meaning there will be no restrictions on indoor or outdoor gatherings.
Indoor venues will be allowed to reopen and there will be no legal requirement for table service in hospitality settings, including pubs.
Face coverings will no longer be legally required but guidance will be in place to suggest where they might be advisable.
Government reviews into social distancing and Covid certification (Covid passports), about which Guild President Philip Paris attended a meeting with the Cabinet Office and the Culture Minister, have concluded that the ‘1 metre plus’ rule will be lifted other than in specific places, such as at the border to help manage the risks of new variants coming into the country.
Commenting on the announcement, Showmen’s Guild President Philip Paris said:
“We very much welcome the Prime Minister’s statement, even though it was delayed by two weeks due to the rise in the variants’ infections.
“Now appears to be the moment that we have all been waiting for over almost 18 months, even though several members have already managed to open variously since 12 April at 500 or so fairs, which is about half those that would have taken place without the pandemic.
“It is the larger, established and historic landmark fairs that we need to concentrate on now to ensure that they take place as the season progresses. There has been some success across the Sections on this so far, which we can build on, as long as we can win the cooperation of local councils. This also applies to members’ own fairs where local councils have been hesitant.
“Further clarity on the Guidance for local authorities in allowing fairs under Stage Four of the Westminster government’s Roadmap will be important to have in place before 19 July, for us and for the local authorities, to work with together.
“I am looking forward to parallel easing of restrictions taking place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for members based in and opening in those countries.
“I am aware that it is not, of course, a free for all on 19 July, or other dates in the devolved countries, with Scotland’s reopening in particular being described by Business in Scotland as “a marathon and not a sprint” as the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Monday that that the ‘major’ legal limitations, including social distancing requirements, are still to be expected to last until 9 August.
“Also, that we will all still need to be cautious and keep up the standards that we have shown to the public with well-managed fairs.”
“The coronavirus regulations do not expire until 28 September, unless they are renewed and there is still the possibility of local restrictions that can be implemented at short notice.
“Let us hope that all the members and everyone who depends on the fairs across the UK can make the most of the business that is out there for the remainder of this season, to recoup the enormous losses that we have all suffered since the start of 2020.
“We have shown the public, as well as local and national government that we are a professional and important part of the country’s industry and culture, which I and the Guild Officials with our 10 Sections shall continue to remind those in power, so that we are not left out in the cold in any future pandemic.
“I am full of praise for all those members who have managed to get open so far where they could, both last summer and so far since April this year.
“I am also very proud of all of our members and still proud myself to be called a Showman and to be your President.”