Speaking to Environment Secretary George Eustice, the BBC Breakfast host questioned Boris Johnson’s decision to announce on Thursday that people in England will be able to meet in groups of six outdoors from Monday arguing Britons will be tempered to break coronavirus rules ahead of a sunny weekend. Charlie Stayt asked: “How concerned are you, as we know the sun is shining and it is due to be a beautiful weekend.
“These new rules come in on Monday.
“What was the point in announcing them yesterday?
“Are you genuinely thinking as of today, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, that people will not think ‘it’s chaining on Monday, we’ll do this anyway’?”
George Eustice replied: “Well, look we’ve been trying throughout this process to set out a route map to a way to emerge from the lockdown, that’s why the Prime Minister three or four weeks ago set out what we achieved to do initially by allowing people to stay outside more.
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BBC Breakfast host Charlie Stayt questioned Boris Johnson’s decision to announce new rules yesterday
BBC Breakfast: George Eustice claims people recognise the importance to follow the rules
“The plan to start tentatively allowing outdoor retail spaces to reopen and later on pubs too.
“We’ve been trying to give people as much as possible notice about the direction of travel, how we’re intending to evolve these things.
“Yes, we’ve given people a bit of notice about what we intend to change from Monday.
“Last time it didn’t cause any particular problems.
“I genuinely think that people have engaged sensibly with the rules that we’ve set down and they recognise the situation that we’re in as a country and that we’re all have to live alongside this virus for quite some time.”
Friends and family will be able to meet in parks and gardens in socially distanced groups of six under Boris Johnson’s gradual easing of the lockdown for England.
The Prime Minister said that all five of his tests to move into the next phase had been met, allowing schools to begin reopening and greater contact to be permitted from Monday.
Mr Johnson on Thursday said people would be able to see “both parents at once, or both grandparents at once” in what he said would be a “long-awaited and joyful moment” for many.
But the Prime Minister continued to be dogged by questions over his top aide Dominic Cummings after Durham police said he may have committed “a minor breach” of lockdown rules.
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Coronavirus UK lockdown stages
In Scotland, a gradual relaxation begins on Friday with a similar plan to allow outside gatherings, though First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is permitting groups of up to eight people.
Her Welsh counterpart, Mark Drakeford, is set to announce that outdoor meet-ups can resume from Monday, but he will unveil new “stay local” guidance to not travel more than five miles.
The easing of restrictions begins re-opening the economy, with outdoor retail and car showrooms opening in England from Monday ahead of a greater opening of non-essential shops.