New coronavirus restrictions have been imposed for England, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that they could remain in place for up to six months. The new restrictions are intended to help curb a potential second wave of COVID-19 cases. According to Johnson, the UK has reached ‘a perilous turning point’ in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
In recent weeks, COVID-19 cases have risen in many countries across Europe, including the UK. The government hopes that these new measures will reduce the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible while also minimising the effects on people’s lives.
Specifically, the new measures include:
· If possible, office employees are again being advised to work from home.
· The penalty for not wearing a mask, or for gatherings consisting of more than six people, has been increased to £200 for a first-time offender.
· All taxi drivers and passengers must wear face coverings (as of 23rd September).
· Scenarios that were previously exempt from group gathering restrictions, such as team sports, will no longer be exempt (as of 24th September).
· All pubs, bars and restaurants will be restricted to table service only, although takeaway can continue (as of 24th September).
· All hospitality venues must be closed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. This includes takeaway, although delivery services can continue (as of 24th September).
· Unless seated at a table to eat or drink, all retail staff and customers in indoor hospitality venues must wear masks (as of 24th September).
· Businesses are required to display official NHS QR code posters so that customers can ‘check-in’ and assist the NHS contact tracing efforts (as of 24th September).
· Wedding and civil partnership attendance will be limited to 15 people, with a maximum of six allowed in any single group (as of 28th September).
· Indoor sports must have six or fewer participants (as of 28th September).
In addition to these new restrictions, the government’s previous hope of revisiting the closure of large conferences and sporting events on 1st October has been delayed.
These measures apply to England. Those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should check for specific restrictions pertaining to them. In addition, those under local lockdown may be subject to additional safety measures.