Coronavirus: Zoos and safari parks set to reopen from 15 June – PM

From Agencies,

Zoos, safari parks and drive-in cinemas are set to reopen in England from Monday, the PM is due to announce.

Boris Johnson is expected to outline the latest step in the easing of the coronavirus lockdown at Wednesday’s daily briefing.

He will say the outdoor attractions can reopen as long as they follow social distancing rules.

Some zoos, including Chester Zoo and London Zoo, have reported financial struggles during the pandemic.

A number of Tory MPs and the PM’s father, Stanley Johnson, have been calling for zoos to reopen to ensure they survive the crisis.

The move will pave the way for zoos to reopen in England alongside non-essential shops, which can also open from 15 June.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said on Tuesday “we continue to meet” the government’s five tests for lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions, so retailers can open as long as they follow safety guidelines.

He also said pubs, bars, restaurants and hairdressers will not be able to reopen until 4 July “at the earliest”.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson will face MPs on Wednesday at Prime Minister’s Questions, after the plan for the reopening of all primary schools in England by the summer was ditched by the government.

The BBC’s assistant political editor, Norman Smith, said there was an “awkward juxtaposition” between the announcement on zoos and safari parks, and the concern about when schools will re-open.

He said there was a “real anxiety” among those in the education sector and MPs from all sides about “the lack of priority and lack of oomph being given to opening schools”.

The chair of the education select committee, Robert Halfon said he was “happy” zoos would open.

But the Tory MP tweeted a call for Boris Johnson to “set out a national plan on how we get schools opening again and a catch up programme for left-behind pupils whose life chances are being damaged by being off school for 40% of school year”.

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