Following the Prime Minister's announcement today of further lockdown restrictions, Lucy asked whether the Government could begin to move to a more targeted approach - shielding the vulnerable whilst continuing to allow a phased reopening of the economy.
The new restrictions announced today are:
- We are once again asking office workers who can work from home to do so. In key public services – and in all professions where homeworking is not possible, such as construction or retail – people should continue to attend their workplaces. The Government, Parliament as well as national and local government will be able to continue to take forward its business in a Covid-secure way and contribute to our national effort.
- From Thursday all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate table-service only, except for take-aways and together with all hospitality venues, they must close at 10pm. To help the police to enforce this rule, this means closing, not calling for last orders. The same will apply to takeaways - though deliveries can continue thereafter. We must act to stop the virus from being transmitted in bars and restaurants.
- We will extend the requirement to wear face coverings. This will include staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.
- In retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors, our Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations. Businesses will be fined and could be closed if they breach these rules.
- We will tighten up the rule of six. From Monday, a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions. However, up to 30 can still attend a funeral as now. We will also have to extend the rule of six to all adult indoor team sports.
- The spread of the virus is now affecting our ability to reopen business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events so we will not be able to do this from 1 October. We recognise the implications for our sports clubs, the life and soul of our communities, and the Chancellor and Culture Secretary are working urgently on how we can support them.
- This is not a return to the full lockdown in March. We are not issuing a general instruction to stay at home. We will ensure that schools, colleges and universities stay open - because nothing is more important than the education, health and well-being of our young people. We will ensure that businesses can stay open in a Covid-compliant way.