Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced England-wide restrictions to come into force from Thursday, November 5.
At a press briefing today the PM, along with chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, said the new round of restrictions are to be introduced in a bid to stop the rising spread of coronavirus.
The restrictions, which will be in force across the country until December 2 when they will be reviewed, will mean:
- All pubs and restaurants have to close once again, although takeaways and deliveries will be permitted; Takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed.
- all non-essential retail, including, but not limited to clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops.
- indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks,
- entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions, botanical gardens;
- personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons.
- Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law.
Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.
Playgrounds can remain open.
Some venues will be allowed to remain open for specific exempt activities, like childcare and support groups. Support groups that are essential to deliver in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people with long-term illnesses, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement.
Funerals and weddings
Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, and it is advised that only close friends and family attend. Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not included. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.
Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.
Places of Worship will be closed, unless they are being used for:
- To broadcast acts of worship
- Individual prayer
- Formal childcare or where part of a school
- Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
- Other exempted activities such as some support groups
People are to stay at home unless:
They are going to work (and can’t work from home), travelling for education, for exercise, medical reasons, escaping the risk of harm, shopping for food and essentials, providing care to the vulnerable and volunteering or visit members of your support bubble.
Outdoor exercise or visit an outdoor public place – with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household.
Outdoor public places include:
- parks, beaches, countryside,
- public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them), allotments
You cannot meet in a private garden.
Children with separated parents can stay at both homes
Over 60s and clinically vulnerable to minimise contact although shielding will not be brought back in.
Nurseries, schools, colleges and universities will remain open.
You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household – meaning the people you live with – or support bubble.
A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit outdoor public places together.
Staying away from home
Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed- including holidays in the UK and abroad. This includes staying in a second home, if you own one, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with. There are specific exceptions, for example if you need to stay away from home (including in a second home) for work purposes.
The furlough scheme will be continued throughout November until December 2, although in a different form to that in the first ‘lockdown.’ Employees will receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. Under the extended scheme, the cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced compared to the current scheme, which ends today (October 31).
Business premises forced to close are to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant. A further £1.1bn is being given to Local Authorities, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses.
- For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
- For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
- For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.
Mortgage holidays will also no longer end today. Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file.
Parliament will debate and vote on the measures on Wednesday. The PM says he expects to move back to local and regional tier measures over the coming months.
The PM says rapid testing is being put in place across the country and claims there is the realistic hope of a vaccine in the first quarter of next year.
During the conference the PM said: “When I told you two weeks ago that we were pursuing a local and a regional approach to tackling this virus, I believed then and I still believe passionately that it was the right thing to do.
“Because we know the cost of these restrictions, the damage they do, the impact on jobs, and on livelihoods, and on people’s mental health. No one wants to be imposing these kinds of measures anywhere.
“We didn’t want to be shutting businesses, pubs and restaurants in one part of the country, where incidence was very low, when the vast bulk of infections were taking place elsewhere.
“Our hope was that by strong local action, strong local leadership, we could get the rates of infection down where the disease was surging, and address the problem thereby across the whole country.
“And I want to thank the millions of people who have been putting up with these restrictions in their areas for so long. I want to thank local leaders who have stepped up and local communities.
“Because as you can see from some of those charts, the R has been kept lower than it would otherwise have been, and there are signs that your work has been paying off
“And we will continue as far as we possibly can to adopt a pragmatic and local approach in the months ahead. But as we’ve also seen from the charts, we’ve got to be humble in the face of nature.”
He added: “Christmas is going to be different this year, very different, but it is my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now, we can allow families across the country to be together.”
More detail is expected to be announced on Monday.
Government data shows 40 new daily cases in Thanet today and 232 positive tests for the isle between October 25-31, up 117 from the previous seven days.
The infection seven day rolling rate up to October 26 has risen again, now standing at 119.8 per 100,000. Thanet has recorded no covid-related deaths in the past seven days.
The UK’s total number of positive cases has now passed one million.
In response to the restrictions announcement Kent County Councillor Karen Constantine said: “A further lockdown is necessary and a very concerning development. However the science is clear, the infection rate is growing and that puts people and the NHS is at risk. The medicine and therapeutic treatments are improving all the time and we can have confidence in our NHS, provided that demand doesn’t exceed capacity. I thank all our NHS staff for their dedication and hard work.
“I note that SAGE were calling for a three week circuit breaker on September 21. I would prefer the Government to always listen to the formal advice and act in a more timely matter. This crisis was predictable.
“We must wait for the full details from the Government early next week, but I feel we must have more robust economic support for anybody impacted by these latest measures. A longer term plan would be advisable as people need to know that they can plan ahead.
“Many Thanet residents and businesses will be worrying about making ends meet. Financials pressures and worries are mounting up. Whilst the Furlough scheme has just been extended until early December, this frankly doesn’t go far enough. We need longer term plans to give people certainty, to prevent poverty and importantly to boost people’s mental health and well-being.
“I hope that Kent County Council will now redouble their efforts to obtain more significant funding for Kent from central Government. We are already being asked to find £160m of savings early next year, and council tax is set to rise, whilst services may have to be cut, and the true impact of Brexit is unknown.”
North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale said: “We have recently seen businesses starting to get back on their feet and people getting used to some sort of normality.