As COVID-19 infections increase across the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled a host of new restrictions which may be in force for six months.
The British PM told Parliament on Tuesday that the country was at a “perilous turning point” and needed to act urgency. There could be no complacency, he emphasised.
“After six months of restrictions, it would be tempting to hope the threat has faded and seek comfort in the belief that if you have avoided the virus so far then you are somehow immune,” he said.
“That sort of complacency could be our undoing. If we fail to act together now, we not only put others at risk, but jeopardise our own futures with the more drastic action that we will inevitably be forced to take.”
Sports stadium reopenings paused
Among the changes is a pausing of plans to begin a partial return of sports fans to stadiums, which was due to start on 1 October.
This will be a big concern to English Premier League and lower league professional clubs, which have just kicked off their new season. Smaller clubs, in particular, are in dire straits as they rely heavily on gate receipts rather than the TV mega-millions available to the top-flight clubs.
Other sporting codes are also impacted and the new bans extend to indoor team sports such as five-a-side indoor soccer.
Weddings smaller and masks are on
Weddings are now limited to 15 guests, down from the 30 which were previously allowed. However, 30 mourners are still permitted at funerals.
Masks will be mandatory for all retail and hospitality staff. Similarly, they are required wearing for taxi passengers.
“As well as a 10pm closing time for pubs, bars and restaurants in England which was announced overnight, takeaway collections will also be closed from 10pm, though deliveries will be allowed to continue and pubs will only be allowed to offer table service, which will be enforced by law,” the London-based Guardian newspaper reported.
Schools and businesses to stay open
“Venues will be required by law to enforce the ‘rule of six’ and social distancing. The rule, which comes into force on Thursday, will mean venues must shut their doors at 10pm, rather than just call for last orders.”
Johnson said schools and businesses should remain open. Office workers should work from home wherever possible, but key workers needed to go to work as normal.
The Prime Minister stressed that this was not “a return to the full lockdown of March”.