The Prime Minister today announced a series of new restrictions in England in order to suppress the spread the spread of Covid-19, which has been accelerating over the last few weeks. These new measures are as follows:
- From Thursday 24th September, all restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes must now close no later than 22:00pm BST
- Businesses are now legally required to take customers’ contact details in order for them to be traced if there is an outbreak. Fines of up to £10,000 can be issued if businesses take reservations of more than 6 people, don’t take customers details or don’t enforce social distancing.
- Staff in hospitality venues must now wear masks, as must customers whilst they aren’t seated at their table to eat or drink. The penalty for not wearing a mask, or not abiding by the Rule of Six, is now £200 for the first offence.
- From September 28th, only 15 people will be allowed to attend weddings or civil partnerships (in groups of 6).
- Funerals will still be able to take place with up to 30 people attending.
- People can now only play indoor sports in groups of 6 or less. Larger groups can continue to take part in organised sports outdoors.
- Plans to allow spectators to return back to sporting events have also been put on hold.
The Prime Minister said the following in his statement at the Despatch Box in the House of Commons today:
“Yesterday, on the advice of the four Chief Medical Officers, the UK’s Covid alert level was raised from 3 to 4, the second most serious stage, 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 Reproduction rate 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 we are acting on the principle that a stitch in time saves nine.”
“The Government will introduce new restrictions in England, carefully judged to achieve the maximum reduction in the R number with the minimum damage to lives and livelihoods. I want to stress that this is by no means a return to the full lockdown of 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. However, we must take action to suppress the disease.”
The full statement can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-commons-statement-on-coronavirus-22-september-2020
Writing in her weekly column for the Mid Sussex Times, Mims Davies MP had the following reaction to the latest announcement:
“With infection rates rising, it is vital we look to reduce our social contact in order to suppress the spread and any new peak of the virus as we head into Autumn and Winter. Coughs, colds and other winter bugs are already starting to emerge as well – so doing everything we can to keep hospitalised Covid cases down is absolutely vital, as well as protecting jobs and livelihoods.
“We all have to continue playing our part and prevent the virus spreading, as we did earlier in the year. As a Government, we are determined to balance protecting jobs and livelihoods alongside this ongoing public health challenge. Mid Sussex has been impeccable in listening to the Government’s messages as they have been adjusted to the impact of Covid-19. Our economy has started to reboot and it is vital we protect our wider communities through what will be difficult times ahead, but by working together we will come through this.
“I will be listening to businesses and residents over the coming days as these measures take hold. I will be feeding into the Government on this so we can look to rebuild greener and stronger, with public health at the heart of this.”