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'Plan to Rebuild': Britain's 3-stage goal to reopen amid COVID-19 crisis

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson shows support for front-line medical workers in an appearance Thursday outside 10 Downing Street in London, Britain. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/58c85bca6e8f2f99326e87aa395d24d0/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson shows support for front-line medical workers in an appearance Thursday outside 10 Downing Street in London, Britain. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

May 11 (UPI) -- The British government unveiled a 60-page, three-phase strategy on Monday that details plans to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, offering clarification for many Britons who were confused by the original outline from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The plan, called "Our Plan to Rebuild," says in the first phase Britons should wear face coverings in "enclosed spaces" where social distancing may be lax. Workers in industries who can't telecommute were encouraged to return to work Monday.

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The plan states that the rate of infection, however, "remains too high to allow the reopening of schools for all pupils yet."

"This is one of the biggest international challenges faced in a generation," Johnson wrote in the plan's introduction. "But our great country has faced and overcome huge trials before. Our response to these unprecedented and unpredictable challenges must be similarly ambitious, selfless and creative."

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Johnson announced the plan Sunday night in a televised address, but many said they found his message confusing. Labor leader Keir Starmer said it raised "more questions than answers."

For stage 2 of the plan, starting June 1, Britain will allow "non-essential retail" businesses to reopen under certain conditions. Stage 3 would see more businesses opening in July if the infection rate is manageable.

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The plan discourages use of public transportation and urges walking and cycling whenever possible and promises to fund the creation of "pop-up" bicycling lanes. In a more significant change, the plan says Britons may exercise outside "as many times each day as they wish."

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"For example, this would include angling and tennis," it states. "You will still not be able to use areas like playgrounds, outdoor gyms or ticketed outdoor leisure venues, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces."

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Visitors wear face masks as they tour the Whitney Museum of American Art as it reopens on September 3. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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