Boris Johnson announces UK lockdown easing – but Greater Manchester must wait


Music and performance venues will be able to reopen – with a socially distant audience – from Saturday, the Prime Minister announced. Casinos, bowling alleys, ice rinks and game centers may also reopen.

The announcement of Boris Johnson’s easing of lockdown tonight covers movements initially postponed to August 1 due to an increase in Covid-19 cases.

The changes will not, however, apply in specific areas with local restrictions – as Greater Manchester currently does.

“Close contact” beauty services like facials, eyebrow trimming and lash treatments can resume from Saturday, alongside tattoo artists.

Eyebrow treatment

Spectator steering at sporting events will resume, with a limited number of fans expected to be allowed to watch the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theater this weekend.

And wedding receptions for up to 30 guests will be permitted.

Under the new government guidelines, these venues will have to operate at reduced capacity and limit ticket sales to ensure distance can be maintained indoors.

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There could also be increased delays between performances, as venues will need to undergo “deep cleanings” before the next audience arrives.

The prime minister also announced tough new fines for people who repeatedly refuse to wear face masks – and organizers of illegal raves.

Currently, people who refuse to wear a face cover when required face a fine of £ 100, which can be reduced to £ 50 if paid within 14 days.

Fines for people not wearing face masks will increase

Under the new measures, announced tonight, that penalty will double for subsequent offenses, to a maximum of £ 3,200.

In England, face covers are mandatory in environments such as public transport, shops and museums, with some exemptions for children or for medical reasons.

A crackdown on illegal gatherings of more than 30 could see those responsible facing one-off fines of up to £ 10,000, Mr Johnson said.

Police chiefs meanwhile pledged increased patrols to prevent unauthorized events following a wave of parties during the heatwave.

Hundreds of people attended a ‘quarantine rave’ in Oldham

Greater Manchester was placed under tighter restrictions two weeks ago, after an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in almost all ten boroughs.

Last weekend – the first weekend in which Greater Manchester’s new local lockdown measures were passed – police were called to 1,106 offense reports – a 25% increase from the weekend previous.

From Friday, August 7 through Sunday, GMP received calls regarding 540 home gatherings and parties, and 48 reports of authorized premises violating the restrictions.

Officers attended 40 of the reports, resulting in 10 arrests and 11 fines.

Large-scale outdoor “raves” also took place in Carrington and Failsworth.

Boris Johnson made the announcement tonight

The Prime Minister said tonight: “Most people in this country are following the rules and doing their part to control the virus, but we have to stay focused and we cannot be complacent.

“This is why we are strengthening the enforcement powers available against those who repeatedly flout the rules.

“At every step, I said our plan to reopen society and the economy was conditional and based on continued progress against the virus.

“Today, we are able to announce new changes that will allow more people to return to work and the public to return to more things they missed.

New directions for hairdressers were also announced

“However, as I have always said, we will not hesitate to brake if necessary, or continue to implement local measures to help control the spread of the virus. ”

New guidelines for “close contact” businesses such as hairdressers and beauty salons have also been published.

This means that staff will now have to wear a face mask as well as a transparent visor.

The move, which follows new evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), aims to protect clients and staff from respiratory droplets caused by sneezing, coughing or speaking.

The guide also applies to businesses that operate remotely, such as massage therapists working from home and those learning in professional training environments.

The government previously gave the green light for performance venues to welcome audiences again last month, but the move was delayed.

Le Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “The nation’s hard work to keep the virus under control means we can now make further cautious progress in recovery by allowing audiences to return for indoor performances. , to return to fans at sporting events and to reopen more Covid-19 secure leisure activities. companies.

“We all need to continue to be vigilant, but today’s good news means these organizations can finally get started safely and we can enjoy more of the things we love as a nation.

“I have no doubt that they will work incredibly hard to keep their fans, customers and clients safe. ”

The move allows the government to move on to the fourth stage of its plan to phase out live entertainment, which allows for both indoor and outdoor performances with a limited audience.

The fifth stage, which is the final stage of the plan, would see performances allowed inside and outside with larger crowds.


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