Lockdown changes due to take effect tomorrow are to be scrapped with hours to spare.
The Mirror understands plans to reopen bowling alleys, casinos and ice rinks in England from tomorrow will be postponed – as will pilot schemes to restart socially distanced events.
Opposition party leaders were told of the change in a phone call this morning ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s press conference at noon.
Meanwhile, the Scottish government has advised against travel to parts of northern England facing lockdown restrictions.
The Government was already facing fury over its “disastrous” announcement of new coronavirus rules for millions of people in northern England.
Chaos reigned after people in the whole of Greater Manchester, and parts of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire, were told they could no longer meet people from another household indoors.
The ban – which took effect from midnight at three hours’ notice – includes all indoor settings, be they private homes or pubs, as well as private gardens.
Not even some local public health directors knew about the announcement until Matt Hancock made it in a short video clip after 9pm.
A government Q&A on the changes was only published at 22 minutes past midnight. And while people will be fined £100 for breaking the rules, the law to enforce this doesn’t yet exist.
Yet Health Secretary Mr Hancock today bizarrely claimed the rules were “crystal clear”.
Mr Hancock made the shock announcement after lengthy meetings with local leaders on Thursday.
He told Sky News last night: “We have been looking at the data and unfortunately we’ve seen across parts of northern England an increase in the number of cases of coronavirus.”
On 17 July, Boris Johnson held a press conference to announce sweeping relaxations of lockdown rules, which were expected to take effect from tomorrow, Saturday August 1.
The biggest change announced was that employees would no longer be told they should work from home where possible, and instead should return to their workplaces where it’s safe to do so.
He also announced bowling alleys, skating rinks, casinos and beauty salons could all reopen.
And wedding receptions of up to 30 people were also to be allowed.
However he said nightclubs and soft play areas would still stay closed.
The Prime Minister said he wanted to “allow a more significant return to normality from November, at the earliest, possibly in time for Christmas.”