Gyms and non-essential shops to reopen post-lockdown
The prime minister has announced his lockdown exit plan to parliament today after his speech was leaked and published in several newspapers over the weekend.
Johnson confirmed England’s national lockdown will end on 2 December with people able to leave their homes and meet others (as long as they adhere to the rule of six) while collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can also resume.
But given that coronavirus is still widespread, regional tier restrictions will be re-introduced:
- Tier 1: people should work from home wherever possible
- Tier 2: alcohol may only be served in hospitality settings as part of a substantial meal
- Tier 3: indoor entertainment, hotels and other accommodation will have to close, along with all forms of hospitality, except for delivery and takeaways.
The ‘uniform rules’ will also see the controversial 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants to be scrapped. Instead, last orders will be at 10pm with closing at 11pm.
Johnson also announced that the government is working with the devolved administrations on a “special, time-limited Christmas dispensation”.
Mass and rapid testing programmes will be launched for care home workers, prison workers, those in food manufacturing, and those delivering and administering Covid vaccines. University students will also be included so they can come home to families at Christmas.
Johnson will wait until later this week to confirm how many households will be able to get together at Christmas, or how long the break in restrictions will last over the festive season. The government is also due to set out which areas are placed into which tiers this Thursday. These rules will need to be agreed with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments.
The prime minister said: “2020 has been in many ways a tragic year when so many have lost loved ones and faced financial ruin.
“This will be still a hard Winter, Christmas cannot be normal and there is a long road to Spring.
“But we have turned a corner: and the escape route is in sight. We must hold out against the virus until testing and vaccines come to our rescue and reduce the need for restrictions.
“Everyone can help speed up the arrival of that moment by continuing to follow the rules, getting tested and self-isolating when instructed, remembering hands, face and space, and pulling together for one final push to the Spring when we have every reason to hope and believe that the achievements of our scientists will finally lift the shadow of the virus.”