BORIS Johnson today said there is a "good chance" social distancing rules will be scrapped next month.
The Prime Minister suggested contact-starved Brits could see the back of the one-metre rule on a visit to Hartlepool earlier.
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It comes ahead of the next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown – May 17 – with six people allowed to mingle indoors and two households able to stay overnight together.
And next month, on June 21, the country could be free from Covid restrictions, if the cases stay low.
It would be the first time in well over a year no rules on social contact would be in place – with hugs potentially back on the cards.
Since February the hope has been that all remaining rules would be lifted in June, provided the data backs up giving Brits their full freedoms back.
Encouragingly, Mr Johnson said today: "As things stand, and the way things are going, with the vaccine rollout going the way that it is – we have done 50 million jabs as I speak to you today, quarter of the adult population, one in four have had two jabs.
"You are seeing the results of that really starting to show up in the epidemiology.
"I think that we will be able to go ahead, feels like May 17 is going to be good.
"But it also looks to me as though June 21 we'll be able to say social distancing as we currently have to do it, the one-metre plus, I think we have got a good chance of being able to dispense with the one-metre plus from June 21."
BRITAIN BOUNCES BACK
He also added he hoped the first foreign holidays would be allowed on May 17.
The PM said: "We do want to do some opening up on May 17th.
"I don’t think the people of this country want to see an influx of disease from anywhere else. I certainly don’t and we’ve got to be very very tough and as cautious as we can while we continue to open up.
"I think there will be some openings up on the 17th but we’ve got to be cautious, we’ve got to be sensible, we’ve got to make sure we don’t see the virus coming back in."
It comes as Britain today celebrates giving out 50 million vaccine doses since the start of the rollout.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "We’ve just delivered the 50 millionth jab across the UK! Massive achievement from the team.
"These jabs are saving lives and helping us get back to normal. Thank you to everyone who has played their part in our national effort.
"When you get the call, get the jab."
May 17 will mark the lifting of many indoor restrictions currently in place across the UK.
Pubs, cinemas and indoor bingo halls will reopen their doors to allow customers inside and fans will once again be able to watch live sport and music at stadiums and arenas, with social distancing.
Outdoor stadiums will be limited to 25 per cent capacity up to 10,000 fans.
Smaller outdoor events will be limited to 50 per cent capacity up to 4,000 fans and indoor events 50 per cent up to 1,000 people.
Wembley Stadium is scheduled to host the semi-finals and final of the delayed Euro 2020 in July.
The number of attendees allowed at weddings will rise to 30.
Two households can go away together and stay overnight, but must try to stick to social distancing.
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