Government introduces fresh coronavirus restrictions
By Rob Freeman | 22nd September 2020
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country has reached "a perilous turning point" after announcing fresh coronavirus restrictions in England to tackle the ongoing rise in cases.
While he stressed it was not a return to the full lockdown introduced in March, he said the Government would use "greater fire power" if needed.
And he predicted measures could be in place for another six months with the alert level rising from three to four, meaning the rate of cases is high or rising exponentially.
Updated measures include:
- Work from home if possible, despite recent advice to return to the workplace. College and schools will remain open while businesses such as construction can stay open if they follow coronavirus guidelines.
- Pubs, restaurants, takeaways and other hospitality businesses must close at 10pm each night from Thursday and a table service is mandatory with fines if broken. Deliveries can continue after 10pm.
- Face masks must be worn by staff in the hospitality and retail sectors and by passengers in taxis.
- Indoor team sports, which had been exemptions to the rule of six, will not be allowed while the limit on guests at weddings and receptions falls from 30 to 15 from Monday.
- And plans for a public return to sporting events, together with conference centres, from October 1 have been paused with the Prime Minister saying Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden were working on support packages for clubs struggling with the lack of crowds. Gloucester Rugby's match at Bath tonight, which was due to have 1,000 fans as part of a pilot scheme, will take place behind closed doors.
The Prime Minister said: "We always knew that a prospect of a second wave was real. I'm sorry to say we have reached a perilous turning point.
"Our fight against it will continue. We are taking decisive and appropriate steps to balance saving lives with protecting jobs and livelihoods. The vast majority of the UK economy can continue moving forward.
"Complacency could be our undoing. If we fail to act now, we could not only place others at risk but jeopardise our futures."
He said £10,000 fines will be imposed on businesses for failing to comply with quarantine and lockdown measures while the penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will double to £200.
"We reserve the right to use further fire power with significantly greater restrictions," he said.
"I fervently want to avoid taking this step but we will only be able to avoid it if our new measures work and our behaviour changes."
The Prime Minister will speak about the changes on television at 8pm.
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