2m rule should be slashed in HALF as soon as possible, Scottish Secretary says


BRITAIN’S two metre rule should be slashed in half to just one metre as soon as possible, the Scottish Secretary has said.

Alister Jack said the UK must move to open up the economy again “as quickly as we can”.

Ministers are asking if we need to stay two metres apart when lockdown ends

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, he said today’s dire economic figures – a drop in GDP of 20 per cent last month alone – showed the need to act quickly.

“It’s critical to save people’s livelihoods we start opening up the economy as quickly as possible,” he said.

He added: “As soon as it is possible to do so with the R number suppressed, I would like to see it move to one metre.

“I think, to get back to something to near normal in the way that we conduct our lives and our businesses, as we see the virus recede, and we’ve seen this happen without any bad consequences in other European countries, we should move to one metre when the time is right.”

More tourism businesses would remain viable if the two-metre social distancing rule was halved, he argued.

Ms Sturgeon tweeted today that she was also considering reducing the 2m rule in time.

She said: “If we can effectively eradicate COVID – and then control through Test & Protect & policies to mitigate against cases coming into country – we can restore much greater degree of normality.

“Decisions then about, eg, 2m v 1m are more possible. But first we must suppress/eradicate.”

Boris Johnson has repeatedly suggested he wants to cut down the two metre social distancing rule.

Everyone who doesn’t live in the same household must stay apart from others to stop the spread of the virus.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said the rule was being “kept under constant review”.

It was reported today that the PM has been told by scientists the decision to cut it is his, and there is no “magic number” he can rely on to ensure people will be safe, The Times claimed.

Alister Jack speaks during Scottish Questions in the House of Commons
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack with the PM

But as schools and shops open up, there are fears that the economy will continue to suffer thanks to the distance.

Pubs, restaurants and bars are all on track to open from the start of July.

But keeping two metres apart is likely to mean they can’t reach anywhere near the capacity they need to in order to survive.

Greene King chief executive officer Nick Mackenzie today urged the Pm to slash the rule down to one metre.

He stressed that a number of Greene King pubs “will not be financially viable or able to open” with current restrictions in place

Economics fear millions of jobs could be lost in the hospitality sector as a result – and some businesses may have to close their doors for good.