- Title: 'Too early' to end COVID restrictions, say nervous Londoners
- Date: 19th July 2021
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JULY 19, 2021) (REUTERS) TOWER BRIDGE VIEWED FROM LONDON BRIDGE VARIOUS OF COMMUTERS WALKING ACROSS LONDON BRIDGE PEOPLE ON LONDON BRIDGE/TRAIN PASSING BUS PASSING OVER BRIDGE COMMUTERS WALKING BUS PASSING LONDON BRIDGE STATION (SOUNDBITE) (English) PENSIONER WENDY BRYANT, SAYING: "I think it's all happened too quickly. I think he (Boris Johnson) has bowed to pressure from large businesses. I think that mask-wearing should have been kept. If you're going to start to mingle, I think the last thing that should have gone should have been mask wearing - hence the mask. And this morning I was already called a 'brain-washed moron' for wearing it in public. But I don't have good health, so I'm not taking any chances." (SOUNDBITE) (English) DESIGNER, ROB WILLMOTT, SAYING: "Personally, I think it's too early. There's way too many scientists saying that we're going to hit 100,000 (cases) a day, 200,000 a day, whatever we read. They've been saying that since they mentioned the 19th July. So I'm going to go cautiously, I'm going to wear the mask on trains, in crowded areas, indoors and pretty much go on as we have been. I don't see there's much change in my life apart from maybe being able to go to a bar." (SOUNDBITE) (English) GRAPHIC DESIGNER, LUCY MILLER, SAYING: "I think it's too early, in my opinion. Cases are still rising. I think the thought of going to a club now is slightly alarming because it's so many people. Yeah, I think it's too soon, basically." (SOUNDBITE) (English) COMMUTER FROM KENT, PETER (LAST NAME NOT GIVEN), SAYING: "I'm 50-50, to be honest with you. I'm just cautious with it. I think it's slightly too soon, but we'll see." (SOUNDBITE) (English) SURVEYOR, JORDAN BUCHE, SAYING: "I'm caught in two minds, really, if I'm honest. I'm a little bit nervous about the whole thing coming to an end. I'm not 100% sure on what's happening with the masks. I mean, should I be wearing the mask on public transport or when I go into shops? Some people are, some people aren't. Yeah, I'm nervous about where it's going, but we'll see how it all pans out, I guess." LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JULY 19, 2021) (REUTERS) (MUTE) NEWSPAPER FRONT PAGES SUN HEADLINE READING (English): "NOW DO THE RIGHT PING, BORIS" TIMES HEADLINE READING (English): "BE CAUTIOUS, URGES PM AS COVID PREDICTED TO SURGE" DAILY TELEGRAPH HEADLINE READING (English): "FREEDOM DAY FARCE AS PM URGED TO END 'PINGDEMIC'" DAILY MAIL FRONT PAGE / HEADLINE READING (English): "NOW WILL BORIS SEE SENSE ON PINGDEMIC" DAILY EXPRESS FRONT PAGE / HEADLINE READING (English): "BACKLASH FORCES BORIS U-TURN" THE I HEADLINE READING (English): "PM AND SUNAK ISOLATING ON 'FREEDOM DAY' AFTER TRYING TO DODGE RULES DAILY MIRROR HEADLINE READING (English): "NOW HE BEGS: PLEASE BE CAUTIOUS"
- Embargoed: 2nd August 2021 10:20
- Keywords: COVID-19 July 19 London voxpops coronvirus freedom day lockdown restrictions
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Europe,Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001EMIBV47
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Londoners appeared to be nervous about the lifting of most COVID restrictions across England on Monday (July 19) with many saying they believed it was too early for the move.
Britain, which has one of the world's highest death tolls from COVID, is facing a new wave of cases, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pushing ahead with what some have dubbed "Freedom Day."
After rushing to vaccinate its population faster than almost all other European countries, Johnson's government is betting that England can reopen as fully vaccinated people are less likely to get seriously ill with COVID-19.
Retiree Wendy Bryant, 66, told Reuters she thought the lifting of rules, including law-mandated mask-wearing, happened too quickly and that Johnson "bowed to pressure from large businesses".
Surveyor Jordan Buche, 42, said he was "caught in two minds" and felt nervous about the restrictions coming to an end. He was also unsure about whether he should continue to wear a mask in shops and on public transport.
British society appears split on the restrictions: some want tough rules to continue as they fear the virus will keep killing people, but others have chafed at the most onerous restrictions in peacetime history.
Business owners - including nightclubs, travel companies and the hospitality industry - have been desperate to reopen the economy while many students, young people and parents have disregarded many of the most onerous rules.
(Production: Will Russell, Ben Dangerfield, Lucy Marks)
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