British Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched a review of social-distancing rules as he tries to encourage consumers to go out and “shop with confidence” when non-essential stores reopen in England on Monday.

Johnson suggested coronavirus regulations requiring people to stay 2 meters (6 feet 7 inches) apart in public spaces could be relaxed as infection rates fall.

His signal will be welcomed by Conservative Party colleagues and retail and hospitality industry leaders, who fear keeping the 2-meter distancing rule will make businesses unviable.

“People should shop, and shop with confidence,” Johnson said on a trip to Westfield mall in east London on Sunday. “But they should of course observe the rules on social distancing and do it as safely as possible.”

The prime minister’s comments expose the competing priorities his government is juggling as it seeks a way out of the pandemic lockdown. With one of the worst Covid-19 death tolls of any country in the world, the U.K. is now at risk of one of the developed world’s heaviest economic hits, according to the OECD.

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National Post – June 14, 2020.

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