UK Government Postpones Easing Next Phase Of Lockdown Measures
The UK government has announced it will be postponing the easing of some lockdown measures in England, which were set to come into effect on 1 August.
This means venues that had been due to open tomorrow will not do so until at least 15 August, including bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos.
The same applies to indoor performances, sporting events and wedding receptions.
Businesses and workplaces, however, should continue 'as normal' with plans to give employers more discretion over whether staff return to offices tomorrow, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a press briefing today.
Johnson reminded the nation that he has 'consistently warned' that restrictions could be re-introduced, and that reopening society and the economy has always been 'conditional'.
"We must be willing to react to the first signs of trouble," he said, adding that we must 'squeeze that break pedal in order to keep the virus under control'.
He also said people in England will now be encouraged to wear face coverings in new settings, such as cinemas, museums and art galleries, from 8 August.
The government announced yesterday that lockdown measures in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and East Lancashire would be tightened, following spikes in the number of cases of Covid-19.
Speaking about the decision, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last night: "The spread is largely due to households meeting and not abiding to social distancing.
"So from midnight tonight, people from different households will not be allowed to meet each other indoors in these areas.
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"We take this action with a heavy heart, but we can see increasing rates of Covid across Europe and are determined to do whatever is necessary to keep people safe."
He added: "We're constantly vigilant and we've been looking at the data and unfortunately we've seen across parts of Northern England an increase in the number of cases of coronavirus.
"So today I held a meeting of the Government's Gold Committee and working with local leaders, including for instance Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, we've decided that we need to action across Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire.
"So from midnight tonight (Friday) we are banning households meeting up indoors."
The places affected by the changes are:
- Greater Manchester
- Blackburn with Darwen
Indoor household visits are also banned in Leicester, which re-entered lockdown on 29 June. However, pubs, restaurants, cafes and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen from Monday (3 August).
Following some confusion about the new changes, the government later outlined that those living in the affected areas should not:
- meet people you do not live with inside a private home or garden, except where you have formed a support bubble
- visit someone else's home or garden even if they live outside of the affected areas
- socialise with people you do not live with in other indoor public venues - such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions. You may attend these venues with people you live with (or are in a support bubble with), but should avoid interaction with others. If you run such a business, you should take steps to ensure people do not interact with people they do not live with, in line with Covid-19 Secure guidance.
Featured Image Credit: PA