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From gyms to village cricket - England sees more easing ahead

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would set out how sectors of the economy which remain in a coronavirus lockdown - such as indoor gyms, swimming pools and nail bars - would be allowed to reopen.

FILE PHOTO: People leave the pool after participating in the Cold Water Swimming Championships at Tooting Bec Lido in south London, Britain January 26, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

“Next week we will set out a timetable for their reopening, though of course I can only lift those remaining national restrictions as and when it is safe to do so,” he told reporters on Friday.

The government allowed non-essential retailers in England to reopen last month and pubs, restaurants and cinemas are due to open their doors again on Saturday, under social distancing rules.

Johnson said his government would also set out how amateur cricket matches - a traditional feature of the English summertime - can start up again.

“We will be publishing guidelines in the next few days so that cricket can resume in time for next weekend,” he said.

While professional cricket has already been given the green light to restart, government advisors have been worried that the balls used in the sport could act as a vector for spreading the coronavirus.

England’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, provided a glimpse of what the new guidelines would look like.”Providing people don’t do things that are clearly not sensible, ranging from hugging the bowler if they’ve just bowled someone for a duck through to spitting on the ball, it should be possible,” he said.

Johnson repeated his call for people to act responsibly on Saturday when pubs reopen and said he would not hesitate to act if needed to slow the spread of the virus.

He said the fall in the prevalence of the disease to one person in every 2,200 meant it was the right time for the reopening of the hospitality sector.

“It is incredibly important to get the balance right, and our priority is health,” he said.

In Scotland and Wales, pubs are not due to reopen until mid-July.

Reporting by William Schomberg and Paul Sandle, writing by William James; editing by Stephen Addison

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