Staff told to work from home and 10pm curfew brought in for bars and restaurants
A number of measures will be introduced in the coming days in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Johnson highlighted the following points which could remain in place in England for six months:
- Office workers who can work from home should do so. Where it’s not possible, such as in the construction or retail industry, they should continue to attend their ‘covid secure’ workplace
- From Thursday, all pubs, bars and restaurants will only be able to operate table service and will be required to close at 10pm (not just last orders). This excludes delivery services
- Extend the requirement for face coverings in retail, taxis and hospitality for staff and customers
- From Monday, a maximum of 15 (down from 30) people can attend wedding receptions and ceremonies. However, up to 30 can attend funerals
- The ‘Rule of Six’ will also apply to indoor team sport
- Large sporting events and conferences which were due to take place from 1 October will now not go ahead
- Fines of up to £10,000 will be applied to firms breaking the rules while for Brits, they’ll be fined a higher £200 for a first offence, up from £100
- For those who were told to shield at the height of the pandemic, they don’t need to shield except in local lockdown areas, though this will be kept under constant review
- Schools, colleges and universities can continue to be open as now.
The measures come as Johnson revealed that England is now in the second wave of coronavirus. Just a month ago, 1,000 people a day were testing positive for coronavirus, but the figures have risen to nearly 4,000.
With winter approaching, this could mean 10,000s of new cases next month and in the past couple of weeks, hospital admissions have doubled. Further just 8% of people have coronavirus antibodies.
Johnson said the devolved administrations will also take similar steps to get the ‘R’ number – the coronavirus reproduction rate down.
He said: “This is the moment to act. If we can curb daily infections and reduce the reproduction rate to one, this will protect the NHS and shelter the economy.
“We’re acting on the principle, a stitch in time saves nine. We’re sorry this will affect businesses just getting back on their feet.
“If all actions fail to take the ‘R’ rate to below one, there will be significantly further restrictions. We want to avoid taking this step but we will only be able to avoid this if the new measures work and behaviour changes.
“We can assume that these restrictions remain in place for six months. Coronavirus is a fact of our lives and our fight against it will continue.
“These are decisive and appropriate steps to protect jobs, lives and livelihoods.”