A number of changes to Coronavirus restrictions were announced in England and Wales this lunchtime. Here’s a look at the key points…
On Friday lunchtime, Boris Johnson outlined the tightened Coronavirus restrictions announced in parts of Northern England on Thursday night. He also announced further restrictions, and the delay of some restrictions being eased;
- The further easing of restrictions due to take effect on Saturday 1 August has now been delayed, meaning casinos, bowling alleys, indoor theatres and concerts will have to stay closed in England until at least 15 August.
- Changes to wedding celebrations to allow up to 30 guests have now been postponed
- Shielding will be paused nationally from 1 August as planned
- Face covering rules are to be extended to additional settings – from 8 August, wearing a face-covering will be mandatory in museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship in England.
Mr Johnson said that there would be a greater police presence to enforce the new face-covering rules.
The Prime Minister was keen to say that the new restrictions in Northern England do not represent a “return to lockdown” – he also appeared to announce a new slogan: “Hands, face, space, get a test”
Meanwhile, in Wales, the First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced the further easing of restrictions from next week.
Announcing changes to restrictions in Wales, the First Minister of Wales said he has been ‘hugely impressed’ by businesses that have been complying with guidelines and making changes to help keep people safe from the Coronavirus.
He did though urge continued caution and said, “We are facing the likelihood of a resurgence of the virus over the autumn and winter –this will not be over by Christmas. We all have an ongoing responsibility to keep Wales safe. This means maintaining social distancing, washing our hands often and thinking carefully about where we go, what we’re doing and why.”
Mr Drakeford announced the following easing of restrictions from Monday 3 August;
- Up to 30 people will able to meet together outside while complying with social distancing rules.
- Pubs, bars, restaurants, and cafes, bowling alleys, auction houses and bingo halls will be able to re-open indoors.
- Licenced wedding venues will be able to re-open to provide wedding ceremonies but indoor receptions will not be allowed.
- Children under 11 will no longer have to maintain a 2m distance from each other or from adults.
The First Minister said that if conditions remain favourable in Wales, swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas and indoor leisure centres will be able to re-open from 10 August. Children’s indoor play areas may also be able to reopen from 10 August.
Mr Drakeford said that people could continue to travel between Wales and the parts of Northern England that have seen their restrictions tightened, but urged people that visited Wales to comply with restrictions to help keep Wales safe. The statement came less than an hour after First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said: “I strongly advise anyone planning to travel to areas affected in the north of England, or anyone planning to travel to Scotland from those same areas, to cancel their plans.”