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End of lockdown? How the government is planning to restart the economy as lockdown eases

The roundtables will include input from businesses and academics. Groups will consider key themes on how businesses can move forward. These themes will include the future of British industry as well as a ‘green’ recovery, say reports.

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According to Business Matters magazine, Mr Sharma said: “These roundtables are a redoubling of our efforts to listen to and work with the business community and academic experts as we consider the measures needed to support our economic bounce-back.”

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The Telegraph reported last week the Boris Johnson had expressed a desire for barbers to reopen sooner than previously stated – the government has since denied this.

The government’s advice for weeks has been that hairdressers will be able to reopen on July 4 at the earliest.

But the Telegraph claimed that the Prime Minister was considering whether they could reopen sooner if staff wore PPE similar to dentists.

The groups organised by Alok Sharma, pictured, will look at economy growth amid shops reopening. (Image: Ben Stansall / Getty)

However, the Mirror reported the next day that Downing Street had confirmed that this would not be the case.

The news follows the creation of five ministerial-led task forces earlier in May that sought to develop plans for how sectors that were then closed could safely reopen.

The government announced the task forces on May 13, claiming its ambition was “to open as many of these other businesses and public places as possible over the coming months”, providing the scientific advice allowed it.

The five task forces would each look at one particular sector. These sectors were defined as: Pubs and restaurants; non-essential retail; recreation and leisure, including tourism, culture, libraries, entertainment, and sport; places of worship; and international aviation.

READ MORE: Alok Sharma tests negative for coronavirus amid MP row

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Non-essential shops have been shut across the UK since March. (Image: Matthew Horwood / Getty)

More recently, however, the Guardian reports that another group of six ministers – reportedly nicknamed the “Save Summer Six” – have been tasked with overseeing the end of lockdown.

They are comprised of Sharma, chancellor Rishi Sunak, Cabiner Office minister Michael Gove, communities secretary Robert Jenrick, transport secretary Grant Shapps and culture secretary Oliver Dowden.

Despite the work currently being undertaken to reopen the economy, many are still concerned about the possibility of Covid-19 transmission increasing.

Data published last week by Public Health England and Cambridge University suggested that the north-west of England has an R number over one.

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The government has previously said it aims to open ‘as many shops as possible’. (Image: Richard Baker / Getty)

North West mayors Andy Burnham (R) and Steve Rotheram (Image: Christopher Furlong / Getty)

This means that the virus could begin spreading exponentially again, and Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram – mayors of Manchester and Liverpool respectively – wrote a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson this weekend to discuss the matter.

They called for more information to be supplied to regional councils from central government, and also asked whether non-essential retail would still be able to reopen on June 15 as planned.

The two mayors also said that councils should be given permission to decide when schools should be able to reopen to wider groups of pupils.

Non-essential retail outlets across England are planned to be able to reopen next week on June 15.

And the prime minister is set to outline measures that will allow private individual prayer at places of worship on June 15, according to the BBC.

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