Last night, the Prime Minister addressed the nation outlining that although there are difficult months to come if we follow these simple rules together – the new restrictions outlined yesterday, the rule of six and remember Hands, Face and Space – we will get through this winter together.
- At every stage of this pandemic we have struck a delicate balance between saving lives by protecting our NHS and minimising the wider impact of our restrictions.
- It is because of the common sense and fortitude of the British people that earlier this year we were able to avert an even worse catastrophe. But we always knew that while we might have driven the virus into retreat, the prospect of a second wave was real. As in Spain and France and many other countries, we have reached a perilous turning point.
- On Monday, the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser warned that the doubling rate for new cases could be between seven and 20 days and in the last fortnight, daily hospital admissions in England have more than doubled. The UK’s Covid alert level was raised from 3 to 4 yesterday meaning that transmission is high or rising exponentially.
- So, this is the moment when we must act. If we can curb the number of daily infections, and reduce the R number to 1, then we can save lives, protect the NHS, and the most vulnerable, and shelter the economy from the far sterner and more costly measures that would inevitably become necessary later.
- So now it falls to each and every one of us to remember the basics – wash our hands, cover our faces, observe social distancing – and follow the rules.
- Then we can fight back against this virus, shelter our economy from even greater damage, protect the most vulnerable in care homes and hospitals, safeguard our NHS and save many more lives.
We are introducing new restrictions and strengthening the rules – making them easier for people to understand, for the police to enforce and to ensure the minimum damage is done to lives and livelihoods:
- We are once again asking those who can work from home to do so – with particular emphasis on office workers. In all professions where homeworking is not possible, such as construction or retail and for all those key public services, people should continue to attend their workplaces.
- From tomorrow all pubs, bar and restaurants must operate table-service only, except for take-aways – with all hospitality venues required close at 10pm daily. In order to help enforce this the Prime Minister made it clear this is not the calling of last orders but closing at 10pm. The same rules will apply for takeaways – although deliveries can occur thereafter.
- We are extending and strengthening the requirement to wear face coverings. These new requirements will include the wearing of facemasks by staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles, and most importantly both staff and customers in all indoor hospitality – except when seated at a table to eat or drink.
- We are making our Covid-secure guidelines a legal requirement. In retail, leisure and other sectors these guidelines will become a legal requirement – meaning businesses can be both fined, up to £10,000, and closed if they breach these rules.
- From Monday, we will tighten the rule of six. The rule of six will be extended to all adult indoor team sports. A maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions. However, up to 30 people can still attend funerals as they can do currently.
- Business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events will be unable to reopen as planned from 1 October. We recognise the implications this will have for our sports clubs – the decision was not taken lightly. We are urgently considering how we can support these clubs, many of which are central to our communities.
- This is not a return to the full lockdown in March. We are not issuing a general instruction to stay at home. We will ensure that schools, colleges and universities stay open - because nothing is more important than the education, health and well-being of our young people. We will ensure that businesses can stay open in a Covid-compliant way.