British PM Boris Johnson says country to reopen shops, gyms and outdoor pubs on April 12

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks at Downing Street in London, Britain.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday a planned reopening of the economy would take place next week, with the opening of all shops, gyms, hairdressers and outdoor hospitality areas in England.

With the vaccine programme rolling out rapidly across the UK and infection numbers falling, Johnson said England would proceed to Stage 2 of his roadmap out of lockdown from April 12. Johnson said he would go to the pub himself for a pint.

People should continue to work from home when they could and minimise domestic travel, the government said. It also confirmed that the government was looking at a COVID-status certification system, or vaccine passport, to help reopen larger events.

Johnson said there would be no need for people to prove they had been vaccinated, adding that the idea of vaccine passports for international travel was likely and its use domestically would be piloted at some big events.

“I want to stress that there are complicated, ethical, and practical issues … raised by the idea of COVID status certification … using vaccination alone,” Johnson told a news conference.

“You’ve got to be very careful in how you handle this, and don’t start a system that’s discriminatory.”

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