The Prime Minister has this afternoon made a statement to the House of Commons outlining further measures in England to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
The PM has announced the following rules, from:
Wednesday 23 September
Office workers who are able to work from home should do so and the requirement for customers to wear face coverings will be extended to all users of taxis and private hire vehicles.
Thursday 24 September:
Pubs, bars and restaurants must operate table-service only, except for takeaways.
Hospitality venues must close between 22:00 and 05:00 (which means closing, not last orders). The same will apply to takeaways, although deliveries can continue.
The requirement to wear face coverings will be extended to include staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.
Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations in retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors.
Monday 28 September:
A maximum of 15 people may attend weddings, while 30 may attend funerals. Organisers must follow Covid-19 Secure guidance and all legal requirements in order to ensure they are protecting their staff and customers.
Business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events will not be reopened from 1 October.
The £10,000 fines imposed on those who don’t quarantine will now be applied to businesses and the penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking rule of six will double to £200.
Exemptions to the “rule of six” will be reduced.
The PM suggested that these new restrictions will most likely be in place for six months.
The PM also gave a televised broadcast to the nation this evening, where he reiterated the restrictions which he had set out in the Commons. Mr Johnson also noted that his Government had the powers to introduce tougher local restrictions if required.
Further detail and clarity is expected in the coming days.
Test and Trace update
As you will be aware there is a legal requirement – that came into force on 18 September – for hospitality, tourism and leisure venues to:
Ask at least one member of every party of customers or visitors (up to 6 people) to provide their name and contact details.
Keep a record of all staff working on their premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details.
Keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested.
From 24 September, there will be an additional legal requirement for venues to display an official NHS QR code poster. Any designated venue that is found not to be compliant with these regulations mentioned above, or accept bookings from groups that do not comply with the Rule of Six, will be subject to financial penalties. Guidance on the rules are available here and you can view the regulations here.
Following the PM’s speech, First Minister, Mark Drakeford also set out new restrictions to help control the spread of coronavirus which will mirror those in England and confirmed that the new rules will come into force in Wales at 6pm on Thursday (24 September).
Drakeford also announced a support package which includes:
A new £500 payment to support people on low incomes who are asked to self-isolate if they have coronavirus.
Strengthened regulations to ensure employers support people who need to self-isolate.
Extended the moratorium against forfeiture for the non-payment of rent, which was due to end on 30 September, which will now run up to and include 31 December 2020.
Scotland’s First Minister has also announced similar restrictions to those announced by the PM this afternoon, which will come into force this week following a sharp increase in the number of cases over the last two weeks. Nicola Sturgeon announced the following rules:
From Wednesday 23 September:
It will no longer be permitted to visit other households with the exception of people who live alone, alone with children or those who can form extended households.
From Friday 25 September:
Pubs, bars and restaurants will be required to close at 10pm.
Table service will continue to be required in all hospitality premises. We are awaiting clarity on whether takeaway can be ordered at a counter, eg in a coffee shop.
Hotel bars and restaurants will have to close for non-residents at 2200 as with high street outlets. We are awaiting confirmation of the position regarding hotel residents.
Party-size remains at a max of 6 from 2 households (children <12 from these 2 households excluded)
Wedding receptions for up to 20 can still be accommodated.
Confirmation is also awaited on whether there will be any time limits for takeaway/deliveries.
Activities that were due to be opened on 5th October will now be delayed including outdoor live events, indoor live events with physical distancing, and other indoor entertainment (theatres and music venues) Additional resources for environmental health officers and local authorities to step up inspection and enforcement of hospitality and work venues was announced to ensure Covid secure guidelines are followed.
A new package of support for those who need to self-isolate was announced. Further details will be announced shortly
Impact of lack of Airbridge with US: Airlines UK has produced a new report on the economic impact to the UK of not having an Air Bridge in place with the US. Although the USA is the UK largest inbound market, accounting for 11% of all visitors to the UK and £4.5bn in inbound tourism revenue, passenger numbers were down by 98% compared to 2019 through to July and will not improve without changes in Government policy. This report highlights the devastating economic impact of these restrictions:
o An estimated £11 billion hit to UK GDP in 2020 – some £212m a week
o £45.8 billion of lost trade
o £3.5 billion hit to the UK tourism industry
o Loss to critical regional connectivity outside London