A sense of freedom as Britain reopens
IslamNews – Britain has lived under the most strenuous level of government restrictions for the longest period of time in the world – 175 days at “maximum stringency level.” On Monday, those rules started to lift. Our reporters found feelings of relief and joy as people rushed to hairdressers, pubs, gyms and stores. At the Kentish Belle pub in London, crowds counted down the seconds to midnight on Sunday.
The government has said it hopes to lift almost all restrictions by June 21, during one of the most successful vaccine campaigns in the world — nearly half of Britons have received at least one dose — and after long closures that tamped down on the rapid spread of the B.1.1.7 variant.
But much has not bounced back: Theaters, with a few exceptions, cannot come back until May. Many pubs that have made it through plagues and wars could not survive. 2,000 are estimated to have closed, along with 4,000 hair salons. And there is the death toll: 150,000 people whose families will not rejoice in quite the same way.
Economic picture: After its worst recession in 300 years, Britain is projecting optimism about its recovery. The Bank of England predicts that by the end of the year, the size of the economy will be back where it was at the end of 2019. With Britons having saved their money, retailers hope they will be eager to go shopping.