PUBS, hairdressers and gyms have been forced to close across England as the country begins a second nationwide lockdown.
The measures were revealed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a live televised speech over the weekend as the government attempts to tackle a surge in coronavirus cases.
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The lockdown, which went into effect today, November 5, is expected to remain in place for four weeks, until December 2.
It comes as the Office for National Statistics estimated that 568,100 people were infected with coronavirus during the week ending October 23.
There are now fears that the virus is spreading faster than the initial “worst-case scenario” predicted.
Britain has also passed a million cases of Covid after 21,915 more people tested positive for the bug.
Speaking at the press conference, Mr Johnson said: ‘I am afraid that from Thursday the basic message will not be the same. Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives. ”
He said Christmas would be “different this year”, but he hoped the families could still meet thanks to the “hard action” he was taking.
The new rules apply only to England – Scotland and Wales have separate coronavirus restrictions in place.
Which businesses need to close?
According to guidelines posted on the gov.uk website, the following businesses must close on the second lockdown:
- Restaurants, pubs and bars, except for take-out and delivery
- Non-essential retail stores, including electronics and clothing stores, although they can remain open for delivery and click and collect
- Market stalls selling non-essential goods
- Vehicle showrooms
- Travel agents
- Paris shops
- Tobacco and vape shops
- Auction houses
- Car washes
- Accommodation such as hotels and hostels, although these may remain open to visitors traveling for business purposes
- Indoor and outdoor recreation facilities such as bowling alleys, recreation centers and gyms
- Sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving range, dance studios, stables and riding centers, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centers, shooting ranges archery and shooting
- Water and theme parks
- Personal care facilities such as hairdressers, nail salons, spas, tanning salons, massage parlors, tattoo studios and body piercing studios
- Entertainment venues such as theaters, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries
- Community centers and halls
- Places of worship, except for the purposes of independent prayer, broadcasting of services and funerals
Restaurants, pubs and hairdressers have been open since July 4, while non-essential retailers have been allowed to welcome customers again from June 15.
Gyms were among the last businesses to reopen after the first lockdown and were only given the green light to do so from July 25.
Meanwhile, nightclubs, as well as dance halls and nightclubs have still not reopened after being forced to close in March.
Which companies can stay open?
As with the first lockdown, only a small group of retailers will be allowed to stay open. These include:
- Take out and food deliveries
- Health stores
- Medical services – p. Ex. Dentists
- Pet shops
- Hardware stores
- Garden centers
- Build merchants
- Excluding licenses
- Retail stores in hospitals
- MOT service stations, auto repair and services
- Bicycle shops
- Funeral directors
- Laundromats and dry cleaners
- Farm supply stores
- Funeral directors
- Banks, construction companies
- Short-term loan providers, credit unions and ATMs
- Storage and distribution centers
- Post office
- Car rental services and parking lots near vital services such as supermarkets
- Public toilets
- Car garages and repair shops
- Food banks and shelters
- Outdoor play areas
The news was greeted with dismay by players in the hospitality industry – fearing another foreclosure effect on their businesses.
Kate Nicholls, managing director of UK Hospitality, said a nationwide lockdown would be “absolutely devastating” for the industry and called on the industry to receive “significant additional help to get through this”.
While Helen Dickinson, Managing Director of the British Retail Consortium, added: “Retail faces a pre-Christmas nightmare as the government proposes to close thousands of business premises as part of this new nationwide lockdown.
“It will cause untold damage to Main Street as Christmas approaches, cost countless jobs and permanently delay the recovery of the economy as a whole, with only minimal effect on the transmission of the virus. “
What else has Boris Johnson announced?
Other measures announced by Mr Johnson over the weekend include:
- Pubs and restaurants will close but will be allowed to do take out and deliveries
- Nurseries and schools must remain open
- International travel will be prohibited – except for work
- No overnight stays and internal UK travel should be discouraged
- All non-essential businesses will close, but supermarkets will be able to sell whatever products they like
- There will be a nationwide ban on people mingling indoors – except for childcare
- People will be allowed to exercise outdoors
- Furlough extension during lockdown
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The announcement came after ministers were briefed by science advisers at an emergency meeting, following reports of the impending second lockdown being leaked.
Britain has been reported to face a ‘massive spike’ in Covid deaths on Christmas Eve if no action is taken, scientists have warned.
The British responded by hitting shops and panicking over buying rolls of toilet paper and milk, while considering fleeing the towns for the countryside.