Senior ministers have signed off a decision to delay the lifting of all coronavirus restrictions in England beyond 21 June.
Government sources have told the BBC most current rules will remain for another four weeks after this date. It means nightclubs will stay closed and people will be encouraged to still work from home where possible.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to confirm the delay later at a press conference. The extension will be put to a Commons vote this month and could trigger a sizeable Conservative backbench rebellion.
Stage four of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown would see all legal limits on social contact removed. But many scientists have called for the reopening to be delayed to enable more people to be vaccinated and receive second doses amid rising cases of the Delta variant.
A delay would also allow for more work to be done on whether vaccines are breaking, or simply weakening, the link between infections and hospitalizations. On Sunday Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a final decision on whether the reopening should be paused had not yet been taken.
All areas of Scotland are due to move to Level Zero Covid restrictions on 28 June – meaning bigger groups can gather in cafés, pubs, and restaurants, although they will still have to observe social distancing. Limits on indoor gatherings in Northern Ireland are scheduled to be relaxed on 21 June – when the current rules in Wales will also be reviewed.