Announcing the new restrictions, Boris Johnson has said that the UK has reached a “perilous turning point” in its fight against the virus
Face masks and other face coverings will become mandatory for bar staff, shop workers and waiters, as well as taxi drivers in an effort to fight the increase in cases of the coronavirus throughout England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.
Fines for failing to wear a mandatory face mask will be rising to £200 and will also be extended to customers when they are not seated at a table in an establishment, Boris Johnson said to MPs.
This comes after pubs, bars and restaurants across England will be forced to close at 10pm starting on Thursday, and the government have told people to work from home again if they are able.
Announcing the new COVID-19 restrictions, the Prime Minister said that the United Kingdom has now reached a “perilous turning point” in its fight against the coronavirus and must “act now to avoid still graver consequences later on”.
Mr Johnson also warned that the restrictions could remain in place for as long as six months, declaring that: “For the time being, this virus is a fact of our lives.”
The latest restrictions announced by the PM, who will be addressing the nation from Downing Street later – are as follows:
- Office workers should work from home again where possible – although those who are in “key public services and in all professions” and that where this is not possible, such as in retail and construction, should continue to go in. The Prime Minister later said that people should continue going into their work if it is important for their job, or their mental health and wellbeing
- From Thursday, all pubs, bars and restaurants across England must only offer table service and close their doors at 10pm but delivery services are permitted to remain open
- The requirement to wear a face mask, or other face covering has now been extended to staff working in retail, people in taxis and customers of hospitality services
- Fines enacted for those not wearing a face mask will now double to £200 for a first time offence
- COVID-secure guidelines will now become a legal obligation for firms working within retail, leisure and tourism, with those who do not obey running the risk of seeing fines of £10,000 or having their businesses being closed
- Only 15 people are now permitted attend weddings, but 30 people are still allowed to attend a funeral
- The “rule of six” has also now been extended to people on indoor sports teams, such as those playing five-a-side football
- The phased reopening of stadiums to hold sporting events from the 1st October has now been scrapped
This comes after the UK could soon be seeing 49,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day unless further action is taken in order to drive down the current rate of infection in the country, according to the government’s chief scientific adviser.
But the PM has, for now, stopped short of introducing further sweeping and stringent measures to try to halt the increase in coronavirus cases.
He acknowledged this in his Commons address, telling MPs: “I want to stress that this is by no means a return to the full lockdown of March. We’re not issuing a general instruction to stay at home.”
“We will ensure that schools, colleges, universities stay open because nothing is more important than the education, health and well-being of our young people.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said that while his party supported the latest measures from the government, the public will be worried that the government “doesn’t have a strategy”.