Boris Johnson issues warning as lockdown rules ease – ‘Don’t drop your guard’

We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

Apart from local lockdown areas where restrictions on household gatherings have been extended, more activities are now allowed.

Theatres and concert venues can reopen with socially distanced audiences and weddings can have a sit-down lunch or dinner for up to 30.

Parents can take children to soft play areas and bowling, skating and close contact beauty treatments like facials, make-up and eyebrow threading will be allowed.

Gamblers can have a flutter at the casino and a small number of sports events will also open.

Authorities will test the safe return of spectators, beginning with the World Snooker Championship final in Sheffield this weekend, where a reduced crowd of about 300 will be admitted.

Tests will also take place at conference venues ahead of the expected return of business events from October 1 at the earliest.

The lockdown rules were set to be eased on August 1 but it was postponed after a slight rise in the number of testing positive for coronavirus in England.

Office for National Statistics figures showed last week that this may be levelling off.

Mr Johnson said plans to open up more of the economy “will allow more people to return to work and the public to get back to more of the things they have missed”.

But he warned the Government “will not hesitate to put on the brakes if necessary, or to bring in more local measures to help to control the spread of the virus”. The easing of the rules also coincides with the tightening of other restrictions, including bigger fines up to £3,200 for not wearing face masks.

Mr Johnson said: “Most people in this country are following the rules and doing their bit to control the virus but we must remain focused and we cannot be complacent.

“That is why we are strengthening the enforcement powers available to use against those who repeatedly flout the rules.”

Not all of England has cause to celebrate however.

The easing of lockdown will not affect Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester.

Stricter rules will remain due to high or rising Covid-19 cases. Households cannot mix indoors unless they are in a “support bubble” and limits remain on numbers meeting outside.

The measures will be reviewed next week.

But the latest data for Leicester shows infection rates have declined, so a further review is being carried out with an update expected within days.

Health minister Edward Argar told people in areas under local lockdown: “I’d like to thank everyone for their continued patience in following these vital rules put in place to tackle the spread of the disease. I know it hasn’t been easy.

“It is essential we all remain vigilant and I urge everyone in these areas to continue to follow the rules.”

Mr Argar added: “Wash your hands regularly, follow social distancing, get yourself a free test as soon as you get any symptoms and isolate if NHS Test and Trace tells you to.”

Source: Read Full Article