British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to issue a four-week delay this week on the lifting coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) restrictions for England.
The lifting of restrictions would have applied to all forms of social contact.
The nation was expected to begin lifting restrictions on June 21, but has shifted course after what Health Minister Edward Argar said is a “concerning increase” in infections from the Delta variant of Covid-19.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab previously said the decision to delay the lockdown would depend on whether the link between infection and hospital admissions had been severed.
Four more weeks of lockdown for England means continued capacity limitations for sports, and pubs, cinemas and nightclubs will remain closed.
Delays are hurting businesses that have spent millions on renovations and preparations in the hope that life will return to normal, officials acknowledged.
“It’s going to be catastrophic to us. This will possibly hurt us more than the initial lockdown back in March last year,” Will Power, of Birmingham’s Lab 11 nightclub, said.
The decision also affects some 50,000 weddings representing 325 million pounds in business weekly. Many have been postponed or rescheduled more than once.
The more deadly Delta variant of the virus, which was first discovered in India, is projected to become the dominant strain.
Scientists predict that this variant soon will become dominant in the United States, particularly in areas with the lowest number of vaccinated people.
Changes in restrictions for other parts of the United Kingdom were unclear.
In Scotland, restrictions are scheduled to be reduced to zero June 28.Northern Ireland is scheduled to remove restrictions on gathering indoors on June 21, and such a move is to be considered June 25. SOVEREIGNPH