PUBS, restaurants, hair salons and leisure centres will reopen on July 4, the prime minister has announced.

The falling number of coronavirus cases and deaths has led to the biggest easing yet of the lockdown.

Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that, as long as certain health and safety guidelines are met, many businesses will be able to welcome customers inside for the first time in months.

Restaurants and pubs can reopen with table service only and minimal contact between staff and customers.

Hairdressers can reopen, as can leisure centres, places of worship and tourist attractions.

Weddings can be held again - but with a limit of 30 guests.

This has been made possible by a relaxing of the two metre rule in places where it is not possible to stay that far apart. 

READ MORE: Social distancing relaxed, relatives can reunite

The only places left closed include nightclubs, soft play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools, spas, bowling alleys and water parks.

Mr Johnson said: "Our long national hibernation is beginning to come to an end. A new but cautious optimism is palpable."

Hotels, restaurants, pubs, cinemas and hairdressers can reopen from July 4 providing they are “Covid-secure” - and theatres and concert halls can open but cannot stage live performances.

Mr Johnson said: “I can tell the House that we will also reopen restaurants and pubs. All hospitality indoors will be limited to table service and our guidance will encourage minimal staff and customer contact.

“We will ask businesses to help NHS Test and Trace respond to any local outbreaks by collecting contact details from customers as happens in other countries and we will work with the sector to make this manageable."

 “Almost as eagerly awaited as a pint will be a haircut, particularly by me, and so we will reopen hairdressers with appropriate precautions, including the use of visors.

“We also intend to allow some other close contact services such as nail bars to reopen as soon as we can when we are confident that they can operate in a Covid-secure way.

'We do not believe there will be a second peak of coronavirus'

"We cannot lift all the restrictions at once so we have to make difficult judgments and every step is scrupulously weighed against the evidence.”

 “Our principle is to trust the British public to use their common sense in the full knowledge of the risks, remembering that the more we open up, the more vigilant we will need to be.”

Boris Johnson told MPs the common sense and perseverance of Britons has “more than justified our faith” in them, as he delivered a Covid-19 statement to the Commons.

He said: “Since I set out our plan on May 11, we have been clear that our cautious relaxation of the guidance is entirely conditional on our continued defeat of the virus.

“In the first half of May, nearly 69,000 people tested positive for Covid-19 across the UK. By the first half of June that total had fallen by nearly 70% to just under 22,000.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he welcomed the Prime Minister’s statement.

He said: “We will study the guidance, and there are obviously a number of questions that need to be answered, but overall I welcome this statement.

“I believe the Government is trying to do the right thing and in that, we will support them.”

Caroline Lucas, former leader and co-leader of the Green Party, tweeted: “PM says change in guidance is conditional on defeat of #Covid.

“Yet @IndependentSage says infections should be “consistently & significantly” below 1,000/day & they aren’t.

“Nor will test & trace system be fully operational til Sept. Based on Govt record, it’s hard to trust it now.”