Boris Johnson is standing by his decision to allow pubs, bars and restaurants to reopen in England on a Saturday despite concerns from the public that it could put extra strain on the police and the health service.
In a radio interview the prime minister suggested that the day of the week for reopening would not make a difference, but reminded people to enjoy themselves safely.
Johnson told LBC that the government had thought carefully about the date, despite a caller into the station suggesting a weekday might have been more appropriate, given the increase in drunken behaviour at weekends.
“We thought about this carefully and I think we wanted to give pubs time to prepare and we wanted a date early in July. I hope very much that people will behave responsibly and enjoy summer safely,” the prime minister said.
Asked why he had not chosen a Monday, he said: “I don’t think it frankly it would make much …”
“You don’t think more people go out on a Saturday?” the interviewer, Nick Ferrari, interrupted.
“I hope that people will do this sensibly and safely,” Johnson said. “So just to remind everybody, it’s either 2 metres or 1 metre with mitigations, don’t forget to wash your hands or wear a face covering if you’re in a confined space.”
He denied these plans were based on the “hope” that people would comply but instead on statistical risk and the incidence of the disease, which is currently at one in 2,200.
In a wide-ranging interview, Johnson ducked questions about his father, Stanley’s trip to Greece, which was against non-essential travel advice issued by the Foreign Office. He also said he would not “take the knee” as others had done to support the Black Lives Matter movement, because he did not believe in gestures.
Asked whether he would give a comment on his father, Johnson laughed and said no and that his father should be asked directly about the trip. “You really ought to raise that with him,” Johnson said.
“I am not going to get into … family conversations. I think that I’m very pleased that the overwhelming majority of the nation …”
Ferrari asked: “You’re not going to give me a comment?”
“No. The overwhelming majority of the British population have understood what needs to be done and have been very prudent and that is the right thing to do and the results are there to be seen.”