England fans cheering at Wembley Stadium, London, before the start last week of the European Championship soccer match against Germany.

Britain continues to open its economy, 16 months in the midst of virus-driven restrictions. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing backlash about a controversial issue: whether it should require people to wear facemasks indoors.

Johnson described the plans of his government to lift most restrictions in England, July 19. On Monday, Johnson told a news conference that he would allow people to decide if they wanted to keep wearing masks on subways, buses, and other restricted spaces. But transportation authorities could still require them.

That drew fire from local officials and scientists, who said the government was putting more vulnerable people at risk and being overly casual at a time when the virus continues to course through the population. Britain reported 27,334 new cases on Monday and 178,128 over the last week, an increase of 53 percent over the previous week.

David King, a former chief scientists adviser to government and a vocal critic of the government’s approach to mask wearing, stated, “Wearing one is not to protect yourself. It is to protect other people. “That’s where they don’t understand the problem,” he said.

Johnson stated that the link between hospital admissions and cases in Britain was weakened, if any, by the widespread use of vaccines. He suggested that people should be able to manage their own risks.

While British cases have increased sharply in recent weeks due to rising numbers, hospitalizations are growing slower and deaths are still slowing down. According to Chris Whitty, England’s chief physician, hospitalizations have doubled in the past week. Admissions and deaths are always behind the case numbers. Still, epidemiologists are concerned that these numbers may rise in coming weeks.

Because of how widespread the virus has become, local officials and labor unions representing transportation workers stated that removing the requirement to wear masks on public transport would be considered gross negligence on the part the government.

A final decision will be made next week but, under the plans Mr. Johnson presented on Monday, rules requiring the wearing of masks in England would be lifted on July 19, with decisions left to individuals. Government guidance would suggest that people might do so in confined and crowded places. Companies and travel agencies would be allowed create their own rules about masks.

The planned relaxation would remove nearly all Covid restrictions in England. This would allow nightclubs open again and eliminate restrictions on people attending live events and theaters. The six-person limit on people meeting in their homes, or two households, would be eliminated. Also, pubs will no longer be allowed to serve people who have seated.

Customers wouldn’t be required to give their contact details to enter restaurants and pubs. The current one-meter distancing rule will be abolished. Government appeals to people to work remotely would also be ended. The time between shots for people under 40 would be reduced to eight weeks. This will allow for a faster rollout of vaccines.

Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are all working in separate but similar timelines to fully reopen their economies.

Reporting was contributed by Isabella Kwai & Kaly Soto

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Biden spoke Sunday to say that getting vaccinated from the coronavirus would be “the most patriotic act” Americans could make. In remarks to a crowd at a Fourth July party on South Lawn of the White House, President Biden stated that the United States was beginning to emerge from the shadows of the pandemic. But, he also stressed that the country is not yet free.

He cited the Delta virus variant to be a particularly dangerous threat.

Biden had set out to celebrate the independence of the country and to also achieve his administration’s ambitious goal of inoculating 70% of adults against the coronavirus.

It didn’t happen. As of Friday, about 67 percent of people in the country 18 and older had gotten at least one vaccine dose, according to a New York Times tracker. Nearly 60% of adults were fully vaccinated. In states with low vaccination rates like Missouri, the highly contagious Delta variant was making headlines.

The White House didn’t lose its optimism despite the deficit. President Obama had been optimistic, signaling that the July Fourth celebrations would be about independence from the virus and returning to normalcy.

As part of “America’s Back Together” celebrations, President Biden visited Traverse city, Mich. Jill Biden, his wife, hosted a party at which 1,000 military personnel were invited. Biden expressed gratitude to them for hosting the event.

Many Americans feel a sense of a new day. They returned to their pre-pandemic Fourth of July rituals in large numbers, flocking to roads and skies in the toughest test yet for America’s travel infrastructure.

The Transportation Security Administration has screened 2.197 millions people since March 5, 2020. This was a week after the World Health Organization declared a pandemic.

The number of reports about new cases in the United States has been steady at 12,000 daily, despite the spread of this new variant. This is the lowest level since widespread testing began. Over the past two weeks, the average number of Covid-19-related deaths in America has fallen to 300 per day. Hospitalizations are also on the decline.

Public health experts cautioned however that celebrating could send the wrong message while large segments of the population remain vulnerable.

The threat of continuing violence was highlighted on Saturday when authorities announced that six emergency physicians who assisted in rescue efforts at the condo in Surfside had been positive.

Mr. Biden called on people who have not been vaccinated yet to “think of their family” to get a shot.

He expressed concern that “people who haven’t been vaccinated could catch the variant, and then spread it to other people,” he stated. “Don’t only think about yourself.”

An employee wearing a mask at a restaurant in New York last month while patrons were free to go without face coverings..Credit…Sara Messinger for The New York Times

A stark divide has developed in the wealthier areas of the country, where services are often at a premium, since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its mask guidelines to allow fully vaccinated individuals to remove their masks in indoor settings.

Mask-wearing service class members include waiters, janitors/manicurists security guards, receptionists hair stylists and drivers. However, those with no masks are usually the well-tood customers being wined or dined.

Although employers are reluctant to talk about their mask policies with staff, there are good reasons to require them to wear their masks.

Less than half of all Americans have been fully vaccinated. And coronavirus variants, some of which are highly infectious and may be more resistant to vaccines, are on the rise, said Dr. Lisa Maragakis, an epidemiologist and associate professor at Johns Hopkins University.

The health of customers and their own health can be at risk for food servers, cashiers, grocery clerks, and other public-facing workers. This can not only create liability issues for employers but could also impede a business’s ability to hire workers in times of labor shortages.

Many are wearing masks at even establishments that offer vaccinated staff the option of taking their masks off. Michelle Booker, a Bronx store clerk who works in a Verizon store in Midtown Manhattan, said that it is impossible to know who has been vaccinated and who hasn’t.

Open Night in Rome was an overnight vaccination drive for those on the margins, known as Open Night. Credit: Giuseppe Lami/EPA, via Shutterstock

Nearly 900 people tried to take advantage of an overnight vaccination drive, called Open Night, over the weekend in an inoculation effort organized by the health authorities in the Lazio region of Italy, which includes Rome.

Angelo Tanese is the director general of ASL Roma 1 (the largest regional health unit), and organized the initiative in the cloister of Santo Spirito’s hospital.

The crowd was enthralled by a jazz pianist who entertained them on Saturday night. Sunday’s offerings included free coffee and cornetti, which are Italian croissants.

Doctors and nurses gave the Johnson & Johnson vaccination to undocumented migrants, homeless, students, and foreigners legally working in Rome, but were not registered with the national healthcare service.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is only one-shot. This is in contrast to the two-shot regimens by Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer BioNTech. It is particularly useful for people who are difficult to reach or may not be able to return for a second dose. Mr. Tanese reported that approximately 80 percent were undocumented patients at the Santo Spirito hospital.

About 20 million people in Italy have been fully vaccinated by Sunday. This represents 32 percent.

CREDIT…Angela Weiss/Agence France­Presse — Getty Images

The Metropolitan Opera and the union representing its stagehands have reached a tentative agreement. This makes it more likely that the company will return the stage in September after the longest period of shutting down.

The disagreement over how long and durable pandemic wage cuts would be led to the lockout of 300 stagehands. But the opera house is in desperate need of workers to prepare its complex operations if it is to reopen in less than three months.

The pressure on the talks increased after the negotiation period of nearly four weeks.

The Met claims it has lost more revenue than $150 million since the pandemic forced them to close in March 2020. It has requested substantial cuts in the take-home wages of its union members.

Peter Gelb is the general manager of the company. He stated that to survive the pandemic, and continue to prosper, the company had to reduce the payroll costs of unions by 30%. This would effectively cut take-home wages by approximately 20%. Union leaders have opposed the proposed cuts, arguing many of their members had gone many months without paying.

BoltBus, a discounted carrier, has been forced to shut down due to low ridership in the pandemic. Credit…Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

According to Greyhound, the parent company of BoltBus (the bus service that offers $1 lottery tickets and Wi-Fi for its passengers), BoltBus will cease operations indefinitely following months of low ridership due to the pandemic.

, a discount bus operator claimed last month to be transferring most of the routes to Greyhound as it “undergoes renovations.” BoltBus was forced to suspend service in the earlier pandemic. But its parent company indicated last week that it did not plan to take its buses off the road.

Emma Kaiser, a Greyhound spokesperson, stated The Seattle Times that there is no timeline for BoltBus operations to be reestablished.

Greyhound, North America’s largest intercity bus fleet, joined Peter Pan Bus Lines for BoltBus in 2008. The companies wanted to offer an affordable ride to people put off by grubbier alternatives.

BoltBus riders can purchase at least one ticket for $1 plus a booking cost. Like Greyhound, passengers could reserve their seats. BoltBus passengers had Wi-Fi, power outlets for their own devices, and extra legroom according to its webpage.

FlixBus Peter Pan, Megabus, and Peter Pan are some of the other low-cost intercity bus operators still in operation. This is because domestic tourism continues to rise as pandemic controls loosen.

Millions of Americans decided that this past year was an opportune time to rip out some walls and build a new kitchen, bathroom or addition.

It was an experience of a 24/7 construction site. While offices were closed, conference calls were held in a noisy environment of hammering or sanding. Zoom school suffers when the Wi Fi is cut off without warning. Need a quick meal because the kitchen is gutted down to the studs? When restaurants close for indoor dining, it’s difficult.

Rajiv Surendra, an actor and calligrapher in his early 30s, renovated the kitchen in his Upper West Side 1-bedroom last year. He made bracket shelves, peg rails, and wainscoting. The entire apartment became a work space, and he felt almost like he was in control of the space.

So he found something that could mentally take him away from a space he rarely left. He spent two hours every night practising the piano and the Harp, as well as learning Chopin’s Nocturne op. 9 No. 9. He stated, “That was very good for me to get out of that stuff.”