Government officials in England will soon lift the ban on hugging and kissing, The New York Times reported Monday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Monday evening that the gestures would be government-approved starting next week, according to the report. It is one of the several coronavirus restrictions that has been lifted or relaxed after months of lockdowns.
Cases and deaths in England have continued to decline. Along with Scotland and Northern Ireland, England reported zero coronavirus deaths in a 24-hour period Monday, and Wales reported just four deaths. Johnson called on the public to “protect these gains” in freedom by being cautious and called the relaxed restrictions “the single biggest step” towards normalcy,” The New York Times reported.
Outdoor gatherings of up to 30 people and indoor gatherings of up to six people from two different households will now be allowed in England. Businesses like museums, movie theaters, hostels, hotels, and bread and breakfasts will be allowed to reopen, and indoor dining can resume. (RELATED: REPORT: Young Women On Walk Fined By Police Over COVID-19 Restrictions)
Hugging and kissing in England could be government-approved starting next Monday, after a year of nodding, waving and bumping fists and elbows. https://t.co/Dj6zlYZ6vA
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 10, 2021
Johnson urged residents to practice social distancing in settings like restaurants, pubs, and offices.
London mayor Sadiq Khan told reporters that the first person he was going to hug was his mom. “I’m a hugger,” he said. “I enjoy people’s company and I know people are ready for me to be hugging again.”
University of Leeds professor Catherine Noakes, who is a member of a government advisory body, said to avoid hugging people “too frequently.”
“It would worry me if we were advocating we can hug all of our friends every time we meet them again,” Noakes told BBC News. “Keep it short, try and avoid being face to face, so perhaps turn your face away slightly, and even wearing a mask could help.”