Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a second national lockdown for England that will last for a month.
Addressing the nation this evening (October 31), Johnson was joined by England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty and the government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
In a fresh bid to curb rising coronavirus infections, Johnson’s latest announcement comes after it was confirmed that the UK has passed one million COVID-19 cases.
Non-essential shops and hospitality businesses will have to close for a month, but unlike the restriction in the spring, schools, colleges and universities will remain open.
Takeaways will be allowed to stay open as pubs, bars and restaurants must close for four weeks.
The lockdown will come into force on Thursday (November 5) and last until December 2. The country will then revert back to the three-tier system imposed earlier this month.
Johnson said he is under “no illusions” about how difficult it will be for businesses during this time and that he is “truly sorry” for that. He added that he will be extending the furlough scheme through November.
WATCH LIVE: #Coronavirus press conference (31 October 2020)
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) October 31, 2020
He asked people to stay at home, with exceptions for education, for work, if you cannot work from home, for exercise and recreation outdoors, for medical reasons, to shop for food and essentials, and to care for others.
Johnson stated that support bubbles will still be allowed and children will be able to move homes if their parents are separated. He added that the government will not ask people to shield again “in the same way” as last time.
Christmas will be “perhaps very different” this year, Johnson said. “But it’s my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now, we can allow families across the country to be together.”
The UK recorded a further 21,915 confirmed coronavirus cases today (October 31), bringing the total since the pandemic began to 1,011,660. Another 326 people were reported to have died within 28 days of a positive test (per BBC News).
Last week saw over 1,000 venues, theatres, festivals, arts spaces and organisations in England celebrate in being awarded in the latest wave of £1.57billion Cultural Recovery Funding, helping them to weather the storm of coronavirus closures into next Spring.
However, many fear that freelance and self-employed workers and road crew are being “ignored” by the chancellor’s new Job Support Scheme and that the CRF bailout favours bricks and mortar establishments and the people employed by them.