Boris Johnson set to announce new Covid restrictions later today
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce fresh Covid restrictions in a meeting later on today.
Whitehall officials have told the Financial Times that the government is planning on implementing ‘Plan B’, which includes the requirement of vaccine passports for large venues and an order to work from home.
It is understood that the new rules will be discussed in a Cabinet meeting this afternoon and then announced at a televised press conference at 5.30pm.
The decision comes amid concerns of the spread of the new Omicron variant, despite a Sage scientist recently stressing that the variant is ‘not a disaster’, and that ‘some people may be ‘hugely overstating the situation’.
Microbiologist Prof Calum Semple says vaccines are ‘still likely to protect you from severe disease’, telling BBC Breakfast: “This is not a disaster, and the headlines from some of my colleagues saying ‘this is horrendous’ I think are hugely overstating the situation.
“Immunity from the vaccination is still likely to protect you from severe disease. You might get a snuffle or a headache or a filthy cold but your chance of coming into hospital or intensive care or sadly dying are greatly diminished by the vaccine and still will be going into the future.”
Alternatively, a number of sources have insinuated that the new rules could merely be a distraction tactic from the Downing Street Christmas party scandal.
A damning video obtained by ITV News shows the Prime Minister’s former spokesperson Allegra Stratton on December 22nd last year being quizzed about a rumoured Christmas party, to which she laughed and joked about it instead being a ‘business meeting’ with no social distancing.
Laughing and gesturing to the camera, Stratton says: “This is recorded … This fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced.”
Prime ministerial adviser Ed Oldfield could also be seen sitting in the audience, laughing and pointing out that it ‘wasn’t a party… It was cheese and wine.’
Since the footage went viral, people across the nation have been reacting in horror, particularly those from Greater Manchester, who were living under strict Tier 3 restrictions at the time.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham tweeted simply: “To think of all the sacrifices they asked people in Greater Manchester to make.”
Two girls aged 13 and 16 from Manchester killed in horror car crash
Four other people being taken to hospital
Two teenage girls from Manchester, 13 and 16, have been killed in a horror car crash, with four other people being taken to hospital.
The two teen girls died when the Vauxhall Corsa they were travelling in was involved in a collision with a Ford Fiesta on Buxton Road West, Disley, on Sunday afternoon.
The horrific incident happened at around 3.15pm and both drivers, and two other passengers in the Corsa, were taken to hospital. Police have arrested an 18-year-old man, who was driving the Corsa, on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
The teenagers’ families have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers, Cheshire Police have said. The injuries suffered by both drivers – including a 20-year-old woman in the Fiesta – and the two passengers travelling in the Corsa, a woman aged 21 and a boy aged 14, are not believed to be life threatening.
Police sealed off the A6, between Light Alders Lane and Carr Brow in High Lane, following the tragedy on Sunday morning. The closure was in place for a number of hours while collision investigation work could be seen taking place.
The cordon covered the main entrance to Lyme Park. Police said there was no access to the main entrance from either side of the road closure. Officers are now appealing for witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.
Flowers have been left near the scene of where the accident happened in memory of the two girls who lost their lives in the incident.
A brand new Ikea store has opened in Greater Manchester TODAY
It opens today!
A new IKEA store is set to open in Greater Manchester today, offering residents the opportunity to create their ‘dream storage space’.
The Scandi addition will open in a new location on Tuesday March 21st and will be a smaller store than the huge Ashton-under-Lyne site., dedicated to kitchen and bedroom planning.
Customers can visit for home furnishing advice and expertise to help design their ideal space in their home, according to the retail giant.
The brand new IKEA Plan and Order Point will open in Stockport and is promised to be part of a ‘transformation’ by the brand to become more accessible and sustainable for customers in the North West.
It will be located inside the Merseyway Shopping Centre and not as big as the standard Ikea store but expected to be packed with kitchen and wardrobe solutions, including oven and hob options, kitchen fronts, worktops and appliances.
There’s also a dedicated space to IKEA’s popular PAX wardrobe system with doors, interior organisers, and knobs and handles to help customers build their ‘dream storage solution’.
Michael Parker, Area Manager of IKEA UK, said: “Our investment in the North West is part of our long-term plan to transform our retail business, continuing to make it easier for people to enjoy what IKEA offers using a variety of convenient ways.
“The North West is a key region for us, being home to over seven million people, and also being the place that IKEA first opened a UK store, 35 years ago in Warrington.
“This new Plan and Order Point, along with one already open in Aintree, Merseyside, and another soon to open in Preston, will allow customers to get inspiration and expert advice in convenient locations closer to where they live.
“Together with our existing stores in Ashton-under-Lyne and Warrington, remote planning and different delivery and collection services, we’re enabling an IKEA that’s there for our customers, however they want to meet us.”
The new branch has been carefully designed based on insights of how the people of Greater Manchester ‘want their kitchens to be brought to life’, according to an Ikea spokesperson, who says residents show a preference for kitchens in traditional styles, often in a L-shape.
Customers can book an appointment, free of charge, to start their design journey with one of IKEA’s planning specialists or use the in-store self-service tools to design their own solution. Staff will be on hand to help customers order products from the full IKEA range, for delivery direct to the customer’s home or nearest collection point.
Cllr Malcolm Allan, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources at Stockport Council, said: “Whilst many high streets are in decline, businesses are seeing Stockport as a place that is growing and expanding, and a great place to be.
“That sort of recognition is something of an endorsement especially from an organisation of IKEA’s calibre and reputation. Our ambitious £1bn regeneration programme is attracting a diverse mix of businesses to the town and they will be followed by a wide range of customers who have increasing reasons to visit Stockport.”
The Plan & Order Point in Stockport follows the opening of a Plan & Order Point in Aintree, Liverpool in December, with plans to open a third in the Preston area, coming later in 2023.
Opening hours are Monday–Saturday 9am–6pm and Sunday 11am–5pm.
The Stockport store will be based at Merseyway Shopping Centre, Unit 82, Great Underbank, Stockport, SK1 1PD.
Appointments to consult with one of IKEA’s interior designers must be made in advance via the online booking system.
Aldi closing 890 stores for one day over Easter to give staff a well-earned break
Check your local Aldi’s opening hours this Easter Bank Holiday weekend
Aldi will close almost 900 stores next month in order to give staff a day off over Easter.
The budget supermarket has issued a message to all shoppers ahead of Easter weekend. The announcement will affect 890 supermarkets over the Easter Bank Holiday in April and customers have been given a warning of the change in advance.
The long Easter weekend begins on Good Friday April 7th and ends on Easter Monday 10th, giving many office workers and schools four days off. Aldi will be changing how most of its stores operate over this upcoming long weekend, as 890 of its supermarkets are set to close on Easter Sunday (April 9th) to give its staff a well-deserved day off.
Over the Easter weekend, Aldi stores in England and Wales will be open until 10pm on Good Friday and Easter Saturday. Stores will be closed on Easter Sunday, but will be open until 8pm on Easter Monday.
The opening times of some stores may vary, so shoppers should check the details for their local Aldi online before making the trip. Aldi has previously been praised for closing stores on Easter Sunday.
Meanwhile, Aldi’s rival Tesco has also announced a major change ahead of the Easter period. For the first time ever, the grocery giant has changed its iconic logo.
The new logo rolled out across supermarkets, delivery vans and billboards from Monday March 20th, and shoppers who spot it are in with a chance of winning £1,000 to spend on whatever they want, says Tesco.
From March 20th until Wednesday march 29th, shoppers who spot the limited edition logos across any format can enter the competition for a chance to win £1000 by sharing an image of it on their Instagram grid or Twitter feed using the hashtag #CrackingEaster, or post a photo of it under the promotional post on the Tesco Facebook page.
The giveaway will see 100 lucky entrants win £1,000 to spend at Tesco, to help them enjoy Easter with family and friends.
Shoppers can visit Tesco stores from today to be in with a chance of winning.