While lockdown restrictions eased further today, with the reopening of non-essential shops, there’s still more to come – and the next phase could see the reopening of pubs and hair salons.
The government’s current plan means we may be moving into phase three of the lockdown easing roadmap no earlier than July 4th. This is subject to it being safe to do so, and with regards to the latest scientific advice.
The biggest change, if it is deemed safe to move onto the next phase, will include the opening of personal care businesses such as hairdressers and beauty salons, pubs, leisure facilities and public places, as well as being able to see family indoors.
It’s great news for everyone who’s craving a pint and all those people who’ve had botched haircuts throughout lockdown!
Other businesses that could reopen properly again include cinemas, places of worship, food service providers, accommodation and beauty salons.
The ambition is to get these businesses back open, however, only if it is safe to do so. For instance, if a business can’t facilitate social distancing it shouldn’t consider reopening.
Ministers are looking into ways to get pubs open before July 4th with the use of beer gardens, terraces and marquees in an attempt to save the 3.5 million people employed by the hospitality industry.
The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is said to be in favour of a full reopening of pubs and restaurants before July 4th, providing social distancing rules are in place.
If safety measures can be put in place, pubs in England could be back open by June 22nd, two weeks earlier than planned – although that date is looking unlikely as it creeps closer.
The government is expected to carefully phase and pilot the reopening of these higher-risk businesses and public places to ensure safety measures can be maintained.
Another change that is outlined in phase three is visiting family and friends indoors, if it is considered safe to do so.
The government has asked SAGE to examine whether it can change regulations regarding who people can meet.
It comes after considering those who are isolated and giving them more social contact. It also allows some families to return to work through sharing childcare.
It could be that households will be allowed to expand their household group to include another household in a new ‘exclusive group’. This system was adopted in New Zealand.
The 2-metre social distancing rule could also be relaxed in order to get schools fully open, and some ministers have called for this to be eased as it is ‘essential for the economy’.
The lockdown reviews have been extended to ‘align more closely with the period of time necessary to assess the impact of previous changes on key data feeds, including the R rate’, according to Health Secretary, Matt Hancock.
The next lockdown review will take place on Thursday June 25th.
Teen girl who died after getting into difficulty in water is named
BREAKING: The teenager’s body was recovered overnight earlier this week
The teenage girl who died after getting into difficulty in a lake in Stalybridge has been named as Lucy Smith.
The fourteen-year-old’s body was recovered from water near Crowswood Drive in Stalybridge after emergency services were called out at around 6:30pm on Monday (August 15th).
Police said the body was recovered overnight and was then formally identified.
A spokesperson for the Manchester South Coroners’ Court has now confirmed that a file in relation to Lucy’s death has been passed to the coroner.
An inquest will open at a later date. Police said they do not believe there were any suspicious circumstances surrounding her death.
Detective Inspector Steven Horton, of GMP’s Tameside CID, said at the time of Lucy’s death: “Yesterday evening’s events are nothing short of devastating and my thoughts are with the friends and family of the young girl who lost her life in such awful circumstances.
“We are doing all we can to support the girl’s family at this incredibly difficult time, and we are focused on ensuring they get the answers they deserve as to how this tragedy occurred.
“From our enquiries so far, we are confident that there are no suspicious circumstances and that this is such a sad reminder of the dangers of entering open water, whatever the weather.”
Man arrested after girl, 7, abducted and assaulted
A second man is still at large
A man has been arrested on suspicion of abducting and sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl in Droylsden, though the hunt for another man continues.
Police were first called to reports of an abduction at around 4pm yesterday (August 17th). They believe the girl was taken by a man on Warne Avenue and into a wooded area near the disused railway track towards Manchester Road.
There, the girl was taken to a van where she was sexually assaulted. She was taken back to the woods before managing to find her own way to a nearby park.
She has since been reunited with her family, and is been supported by specialist officers.
Last night, Greater Manchester Police announced that a thirty-five-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of abduction and sexual assault.
He was taken into custody to be questioned by detectives, who are ‘keeping an open-mind’ and continuing to hunt for another man who was ‘acting suspiciously’ in the area at the time.
Police released two pictures of the man, with the second image showing him on Gainsborough Road, heading towards The Snipe with his jacket removed around thirty minutes after the incident.
Anyone who sees the man should call 999, quoting incident 2270 of 17/08/2022. Other details – including sightings on CCTV, dash cam, or doorbell footage – can be passed to police via the LiveChat facility on the website or by calling 0161 856 9262.
Liz Truss says British workers need ‘more graft’ and lack ‘skill’ of Chinese workers
She was also heard saying workers outside of London have less productivity
Conservative leader frontrunner Liz Truss has been criticised after saying British workers need ‘more graft’ and lack the ‘skill and application’ of their foreign counterparts.
Just two weeks on from the backlash surrounding her plan to cut the pay of public sector workers in the north, audio obtained by The Guardian heard Truss discussing the work ethic and attitude of British workers and comparing them to those of foreign workers.
During her discussion, said to have taken place five years ago when she was the chief secretary to the Treasury, Truss could be heard saying: “I once wrote a book about this which got mischaracterised… British workers produce less per hour than … and that’s a combination of kind of skill and application.
“If you look at productivity, it’s very, very different in London from the rest of the country… this has been a historical fact for decades.”
She continued: “Essentially it’s partly a mindset and attitude thing, I think. It’s working culture, basically. If you go to China it’s quite different, I can assure you.
“There’s a fundamental issue of British working culture. Essentially, if we’re going to be a richer country and a more prosperous country, that needs to change… But I don’t think people are that keen to change that.
“There’s a slight thing in Britain about wanting the easy answers. That’s my reflection on the election and what’s gone before it, and the referendum – we say it’s all Europe that’s causing these huge problems, it’s all these migrants causing these problems. But actually what needs to happen is more… more graft.
“It’s not a popular message.”
A source from Truss’s team has attempted to downplay the audio, telling The Guardian: “These half-a-decade-old comments lack context but one thing that is as clear today as ever before is a need to boost productivity, which leads to higher wages and a better quality of life for workers right across the UK.
“As prime minister, Liz will deliver an economy that is high wage, high growth and low tax.”
However, when questioned about the audio during a Tory leadership hustings in Perth, Truss appeared to confirm she still believed British workers were not as productive as they should be.
When asked whether she stood by her remarks, Truss said: “I don’t know what you’re quoting there [but] what we need in this country is more productivity and we need more economic growth.”