Pubs and restaurants already had a 10pm curfew below level 1, but the new rules mean Londoners will be banned from mingling with other households indoors in any setting. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to six people and people are advised to avoid using public transportation when possible.
Schools, places of worship and businesses can remain open, leading many to question the restrictions.
“I’m fed up,” Rebecca Duncan, a 39-year-old woman from south London, told CNN. “It’s like one thing starts to open up and life starts to feel a little normal, and then something else happens and pushes us all away. “
Liverpool, in the north-west of England, was the only region placed in the ‘very high’ level 3 alert when Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday imposed the three-tier Covid Alert system across the country .
Level 3 restrictions may vary, but in Liverpool pubs and bars must close unless they are functioning as restaurants; gyms, betting shops and casinos must also close; weddings with more than 15 guests are not allowed, and people are advised to avoid traveling in or out of their area if possible.
Lancashire County agreed to enter Rank 3 on Friday, but local Manchester City leaders are stuck in a stalemate with the government after rejecting a decision to put the area on the highest alert level .
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said in a statement Thursday that the government’s “flawed and unjust strategy” called on local authorities to “gamble the jobs, homes and businesses of our residents and much of our economy on a strategy their own experts say they might not work. ”
In an interview with the BBC on Friday morning, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urged Burnham “to do the right thing by the people of Manchester”, accept the support package offered by the government and move on. at level 3.
Calls for national lockdown
Johnson focused on the localized restrictions as he introduced the new system, rejecting opposition demands for a “breaker” lockout across England. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have different restrictions in place, with Wales refusing to allow travelers from coronavirus hotspots in other UK countries to cross its borders.
A pre-print article written by science advisers to the UK government said thousands of deaths could be avoided before the end of the year if a two-week breaker was imposed soon.
CNN asked local residents of Well Street Common, east London, their views on the new Level 2 restrictions.
“I think this is probably the right step. Winter is coming, and the statistics are showing – the death rate is increasing, the infection rate is increasing, so we probably have to protect ourselves and each other at this time ”. said Ben Allcock, a 36-year-old childminder.
“I have the impression that it is the right decision which comes too late”, he added. “I think if this decision or a change in that decision had been made earlier, probably more lives would have been saved. ”
Monica Richardson, a stay-at-home mom, said she believed around 10% of people wouldn’t listen to the rules because of “mixed messages.”
The 36-year-old said the lockdown will affect everyone, but especially the older generation.
“We have a neighbor a stone’s throw from us and she has no children, no family and she depends on her neighbors. I like to go say hello to her, but with all these restrictions, I’d rather stay home and not endanger her or my family. ”
Maria, who refused to give her last name for fear of losing her job, told CNN the place she worked closed for two months during the spring lockdown, before introducing hygiene measures , social distancing and contact tracing.
“I’m pretty worried,” she said. “I don’t know… how are we going to work with these metrics again?
“Most of my colleagues have been fired, they have been fired,” she added.
“It’s not proven that this is going to work and stop the spread of the virus even more – and the economy will go down and down. “
‘Too little, too late’
Others said they thought the government might need to go further.
“I think the lockdown is long overdue, I have high-risk parents who trust the rules enough, and I think the rules right now either don’t protect them or go far enough. It’s welcome but I’m afraid it’s a case of too little, too late, ”said Jack Duncan, the 31-year-old co-founder of a travel startup, and no connection to Rebecca.
He told CNN he believed the rules were confusing on social media and would be “virtually impossible to control.”
“Many well-meaning people will make life-threatening mistakes, and a minority of more selfish people will willingly interpret these rules. Moreover, the scientific consensus seems to suggest that a national lockdown is absolutely necessary, ”said Duncan, from Wandsworth in south London.
Brigitte Cirilli, a 46-year-old New Jersey woman living in Tower Hamlets in east London, believes she had Covid-19 but was unable to pass a test at the time. She told CNN that on a recent trip to the grocery store “everyone took off their mask or had their mask around their chin.”
“So because other people can’t wear their masks or can’t follow the rules and regulations, I have to stay home. ”
She said she believed a two-week nationwide lockdown or mass testing was needed. “Let’s stop everything and see where we are,” she said. “I don’t know how to do otherwise. ”
Sam Badcock, a 23-year-old from west London who works in marketing, said he didn’t think the Level 2 restrictions went far enough.
“A lot of these things are too open to interpretation,” he said. “There is such a heavy weight on the cost of activity loss, and almost to the point where the cost of activity loss outweighs the cost of lives lost, which is a mindset and an approach really. biased from my point of view. ”
He said he felt “frustration” at the government’s approach. “We no longer have the impression of avoiding the inevitable. We all know what has to happen. We all know what works. We have seen it all over the world. “
The rate of Covid-19 infections is rising rapidly across the UK, the Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC) said in a statement on Thursday, announcing that London and seven other regions would move to level 2. It said the measurements would be revised every 14 days.
The DHSC said infection rates were rising sharply in London, with the number of cases doubling in the past 10 days. The seven-day average case rate is 97 per 100,000 population and is increasing sharply.
The Office for National Statistics estimates that one in 240 people in England had the virus in the week of September 25 to October 1, and that the number of infected doubles every seven to 12 days.
UK government data showed 18,980 new cases and 138 deaths on Thursday, bringing the totals to 673,622 and 43,293 respectively.
CNN’s Lauren Kent, Nada Bashir, Seb Shukla, Niamh Kennedy and Simon Cullen contributed to this report.