BORIS Johnson will give lockdown Brits a real fresh start this week — by re-opening the great outdoors.
The PM will ease restrictions on open-air activities in the latest step on the road back to normal life.
Mr Johnson is expected to give the go-ahead for market stalls, car sales centres and garden fetes from next month.
National Trust parks will also be told they can open for business providing indoor attractions remain out of bounds.
Even some non-essential shops could be given the all-clear to open again. Mr Johnson wants to salvage the summer for families confined for the past nine weeks.
And he is keen to make the countryside accessible again — but in “slow steps”.
A senior Government source said: “It is clear from the scientific evidence that the rate of infection is much less likely outdoors. The combination of fresh air and sunshine are bad for the virus but they make it safer for everyone.
“So we are looking at opening up the outdoors. But all done in slow steps.
“Social distancing must continue and if there’s the slightest hint of the infection rate rising again, or people hanging around in large groups, the PM will call a halt.”
The insider cautioned: “We will need to adjust to a new normal, and we must stay alert to the dangers of a further spread.”
‘SUMMER HAS BEEN SAVED’
The PM will update ministers on Monday at a Cabinet meeting on precisely which sectors will be unlocked first.
He will host the Downing Street press conference on Thursday to announce summer has been saved.
The source said: “The PM has spent much time lately focused on gripping control of the machine.
“There were things he wasn’t happy with, so for the past couple of weeks he has been under the bonnet, making sure that everything is well-oiled and ready to run smoothly.”
Guidance will be issued to shops and attractions that will resume business in step two of his road map back to “near-normal”, starting on June 1.
TEST & TRACE ON TRACK
Mr Johnson will also disclose details of his new “world-beating” test, track and trace system aimed at defeating coronavirus in a “whack-a-mole” assault.
He will demand more tests are carried out so infected people can be isolated.
The Government has recruited an army of contact tracers that will soon be mobile.
The team will contact those who tested positive and find out who they have been in contact with so they too can be tested.
Mr Johnson will this week provide full details on the actions they will need to take to make the system work. But Chancellor Rishi Sunak has voiced frustration over the pace of the unlocking.
He is increasingly anxious about the damage from the lack of economic activity and the cost of furloughing workers.
Mr Sunak suggested to Tory MPs in a conference call that the PM was being too cautious, saying said: “Somehow Greece and Italy are opening up. This country can’t be the only place where people can’t go and have a drink in the pub.”
But Mr Johnson is unlikely to give the all-clear to pubs and restaurants this week.
He is considering letting outdoor cafes resume business with strict limits on table spacing and numbers. But he has resisted calls for department stores to reopen.