Yesterday Boris Johnson announced the easing of lockdown rules in the coming weeks, and with it he also released six rules to follow to avoid a second wave and lockdown.
The government announced that pubs, restaurants, holiday parks, hotels and places of worship will all be allowed to reopen from July 4th.
It also announced the reopening of caravan parks and campsites, meaning although many Brits may be after an international holiday this year, they will still be able to get a staycation this summer.
The latest announcements are the biggest changes to lockdown restrictions since they were put in place on March 23rd to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Mr Johnson has also said he would ‘not hesitate’ to put the brakes back on and reintroduce full lockdown in the UK if COVID-19 ‘begins to run out of control’.
The Prime Minister said: “The Government has asked a huge amount of all of you, and… the people of this country met that challenge with good humour and common sense.
“Of course the fight is far from over. This is a nasty virus still that wants to take advantage of our carelessness.”
He went onto explain that he would reverse changes at local or national levels as required.
Mr Johnson said ‘if we all continue to stay alert’ we can do our bit to ‘control the virus’. During the press conference, he announced six rules to follow to control coronavirus and help avoid another lockdown.
The rules include:
- Keeping the 2-metre distance. He specified that if you can’t keep two metres apart, keep one metre with the other measures in place
- Wear face coverings on public transport and indoors in crowded environments – specifically where social distancing isn’t possible
- Wash hands regularly
- Follow the rules when visiting businesses
- Get tested if you develop symptoms
- Self-isolate if you are asked to do so by the NHS test and trace
Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific advisor, said that the R number of coronavirus transmissions remains below one across the UK.
He also said that the epidemic is continuing to shrink slowly, between 2% and 4% daily.
Currently, 0.06% of the population of the UK – 33,000 people – have the disease, but the numbers are ‘flattening off’ according to Vallance.
He said: “Don’t be fooled that this means it has gone away. The disease is growing across the world. It is coming down in the UK but it hasn’t gone away.”
Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, explained that if the one metre plus rule were not followed, coronavirus cases could start to increase again.
He said: “A lot of the changes are about emphasising things that we can do and it is really critical that individuals and firms take these really seriously.
“Because if we don’t take them seriously then chains of transmission between households will be reestablished.
“To be really clear, it is absolutely critical that every individual, every household and every firm takes these precautions seriously.
“If that does not happen, we will go back to a situation where transmission starts to rise again.”
He added: “It is not risk free. It cannot be risk free. Every time you take a step to open up there is some associated risk with that.
“You need to be prepared where there is local outbreaks to deal with them locally and if they become beyond local then you need to deal with them at regional and national levels which would mean reversal of some of the measures.
“That is the only way you can keep on top of this.”
Holidaymakers in Ibiza and Majorca will have to wear a face mask at all times in public
Holidaymakers who are jetting to Majorca and Ibiza will have to wear face masks, it has been confirmed today.
The Balearic Islands have confirmed that they are tightening the rules of mask-wearing. The news comes just hours after Catalonia revealed it will be making face masks obligatory at all times in public.
It has yet to be confirmed if wearing a face mask will be mandatory on the beach.
Only yesterday did Catalonia extend the exceptions of their rules on making people wear face masks on the beaches.
If you fail to follow the rules, meaning wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth, you will be hit with a hefty €100 fine.
Until now in Spain, face masks have only been obligatory in public places such as shops, and public spaces where social distancing of 5 feet cannot be maintained.
The change means tourists will be expected to wear masks also at any point outside, although practising sport or children under six are exempt.
For those living under the same roof, wearing a face mask while travelling in the same car is not compulsory.
Police are expected to provide advice to foreign holidaymakers who may be unfamiliar with the new rules before they start issuing fines.
News regarding the rules in Costa del Sol are yet to be announced.
Free TV licences for pensioners will officially be axed from August
It’s expected it will effect 3.7 million pensioners.
It has been confirmed that millions of pensioners will be stripped of free TV licenses from August 1st.
The BBC has announced there will be no extension to the two-month stay-of-execution that was triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
It is estimated that 3.7 million over-75s will now have to pay £157.50 a year to watch their favourite TV shows.
In the 2017 Conservative election, they pledged to protect free licenses for the rest of Parliament, which was set to run until 2022.
However, the BBC had been responsible for the lifeline from June 2020 following a deal agreed in 2015.
The BBC says keeping licenses free for all over 75s would cost £745 million. Instead, the corporation is introducing restrictions that mean only over-75s who receive Pension Credit will be eligible.
BBC chairman Sir David Clementi said: “The decision to commence the new scheme in August has not been easy, but implementation of the new scheme will be Covid-19 safe.
“The BBC could not continue delaying the scheme without impacting on programmes and services.
“Around 1.5 million households could get free TV licences if someone is over 75 and receives Pension Credit, and 450,000 of them have already applied.
“And critically it is not the BBC making that judgment about poverty. It is the Government who sets and controls that measure.
“Like most organisations the BBC is under severe financial pressure due to the pandemic, yet we have continued to put the public first in all our decisions.
“I believe continuing to fund some free TV licences is the fairest decision for the public, as we will be supporting the poorest oldest pensioners without impacting the programmes and services that all audiences love.”
Shadow Culture Minister, Chris Matheson, issued a last plea for the government to take responsibility in the Commons today.
He said: “The BBC is cutting jobs and content to pay for the cost of the licence dumped on them by the Government – and pensioners are forced to choose between eating and watching TV.”
Culture Minister Matt Warman said: “The fact is that the BBC has had a generous licence fee settlement and it is deeply disappointing that they have chosen to go down the path that they apparently are going down.
“I would, of course, hope that there is yet time to reconsider that because he is right to say that television has been vital comfort for many people in the last few months.
Boots to cut more than 4,000 jobs due to ‘significant impact’ of coronavirus
Boots has said that more than 4,000 jobs are to be cut, about 7% of its workforce.
According to Boots, the company is consulting on plans to restructure its head office and store teams, as well as closing 48 Boots Opticians stores.
A Boots spokesman has said the move was part of action to mitigate the ‘significant impact’ of coronavirus, and will particularly affect staff who work in the Nottingham support office.
Some deputy and assistant manager, beauty adviser and customer adviser roles will also be affected across its stores.
As well as the job cuts, 48 Boots Opticians stores will also close, the Mirror reports.
Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK, said: “The proposals announced today are decisive actions to accelerate our transformation plan, allow Boots to continue its vital role as part of the UK health system, and ensure profitable long-term growth.
“I am so very grateful to all our colleagues for their dedication during the last few challenging months.
“They have stepped forward to support their communities, our customers and the NHS during this time, and I am extremely proud to be serving alongside them.
“In doing this, we are building a stronger and more modern Boots for our customers, patients and colleagues.
“We recognise that today’s proposals will be very difficult for the remarkable people who make up the heart of our business, and we will do everything in our power to provide the fullest support during this time.”