Freedom Day delay confirmed by Boris Johnson—but weddings will still go ahead

21 June is dubbed Freedom Day—but the Prime Minister has confirmed it will not go ahead as planned

Britain's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson gives an update on the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic during a virtual press conference in the new £2.6million No9 briefing room on March 29, 2021 in London, England. Outdoor sports and up to six people or two households can gather as from today in the first stage of England easing lockdown measures
Boris Johnson is likely to announce a delay to restrictions easing
(Image credit: WPA Pool / Pool via Getty)

Boris Johnson has confirmed tonight that Freedom Day will be delayed for four weeks over fears surrounding the Delta variant of coronavirus, first identified in India.

Having previously suggested that by 21 June—which is now just one week away—covid-19 restrictions would be entirely lifted, masks and social distancing ditched, and everything back to normal, Boris Johnson has now firmly dashed hopes of a return to normality. 

"I think it is sensible to wait, just a little longer. By Monday 19th July we will aim to jab over two-thirds of the country," the Prime Minister told the nation today. 

"We will bring forward our target to give everyone their first dose by 19th July."

By pushing Freedom Day back to 19th July, it is predicted that 10 million more people will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine before restrictions completely ease. 

There has been a big question mark over whether weddings will be able to go ahead on a larger scale. Johnson did give hopeful couples some reassurance, telling the nation that weddings will be able to go ahead with more than 30 people, though he didn't specify a limit on numbers. 

"Except for weddings, that can still go ahead with more than 30 guests, as long as social distancing measures are adhered to," he continued. 

The wedding industry has been deeply affected by the pandemic, with some couples having postponed their nuptials more than three times. Health minister Edward Argar said, "There will be a lot of couples who planned, hoped, to do it, put a line through it, done it again and rescheduled again.

"Not only does that cost money, but emotionally that is incredibly difficult for couples who want to have their special day and want to get married."

Today is a big blow for the nightclub industry in particular, with many businesses pinning their hopes on a 21st June opening. 

However, Johnson insists that this time, we will be able to stick to the proposed timeline.

"I'm confident we won't need to go on for longer than four weeks and will be able to come out of this lockdown on July 19th," he concluded.

"But now is the time to ease off the accelerator."

More from woman&home:

With restrictions still in place for another four weeks, this is what Johnon's announcement means for our day-to-day lives. 

1. Masks 

We've been wearing face masks for over a year now and it looks like they're here to stay for a little longer.

People will be expected to continue to wear masks in shops, pubs, and public spaces.

2. Social distancing 

It looks like social distancing and the indoor "rule of six" will remain in place for the next four weeks, at least. 

3. Events

Currently, 30 people are allowed to gather for outdoor events. The exception to this rule is that weddings and funerals are allowed to go ahead on a larger scale.

This number is now set to increase on July 19th.

Georgia Farquharson

Georgia writes across Woman & Home and Good to Know and specialises in all things royal. Previously labelled the "Queen of the royals," Georgia knows the whose who and what's what when it comes to the monarchy. When she's not eagerly following the royal family, Georgia enjoys shopping and self-care. She lives with this motto in mind; "if your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough."