London City Airport received its first commercial flight in nearly three months Sunday as Britain moved another step closer to fully emerging from its coronavirus lockdown on July 4 .
The gateway to the once -bustling Canary Warf and City financial districts welcomed a short flight from the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea .
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The small turboprop plane ’ s landing and quick departure for its return leg was the only one scheduled – but officials could hardly sound more pleased.
“This clear early demand from our passengers to get back to flying is really encouraging , ” airport chief executive Robert Sinclair said .
Initial routes will be domestic because of international travel restrictions and only a handful of destinations will be served in the first weeks.
London businesses are also unhappy with the government ’ s divisive decision to impose 14- day quarantines on most people arriving in Britain .
“ Both blanket Foreign Office advice not to travel abroad and the mandatory two – week quarantine for all arrivals into the UK should be limited to the highest risk countries , ” the London First business lobby said on the airport ’ s website.
Heathrow and London’ s smaller Gatwick and Stansted airports remained partially open throughout the crisis.
– Two – metre battle –
Britain ’ s official death toll of 42, 632 is Europe ’ s highest and third globally behind the United States and Brazil.
But health officials lowered the alert level to three on a five – point scale on Friday – a signal the government needed to take a more business -friendly approach.
British pubs and restaurants are most upset about a requirement for people to stay two meters ( six feet ) apart in public .
Business owners complain the restriction means they cannot seat enough people to make a profit .
The measure is also partially blamed for the government ’ s inability to reopen schools before the summer break .
British newspapers and business figures have been waging a war against it for weeks.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson – his approval ratings dropping as the economic toll of the health disaster climbs – is expected Tuesday to give the formal go – ahead for pubs and restaurants to start seating clients on July 4 .
Some hair salons have also started taking bookings for July in anticipation .
But most will be watching to see what he has to say about the two – metre requirement – an issue that some critics view as emblematic of Johnson ’ s incongruous response to the crisis.
The Telegraph newspaper said Johnson will announce a “ one metre plus” rule that allows people everywhere to stand closer together if they wear masks .
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