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Gyms and leisure centres could reopen from start of July, government minister says

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Leisure centres and gyms could reopen and five-a-side footie matches could be allowed from the start of July, according to the Culture Secretary. 

Oliver Dowden said that as part of the next stage of the nation’s coronavirus recovery, grassroots sports could be allowed.

Gym-goers will be able to get back to the treadmill and HIIT classes soon, and football fans allowed to have kickabout, Mr Dowden has said. 

At the Downing Street briefing, he said: “Sports recovery is never just about elite sports. I know people are itching to get back to their gyms, their leisure centres, their five-a-side leagues… and all the normal fitness activities.

“So we are working closely to get grassroots and community sport back and up running as soon as it’s safe to so – with an aim at the start of July at the very earliest.”

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This is great news for anyone who has been longing to be back in the gym for some proper training.

It’s also expected to reduce congestion in parks where Brits have been allowed to do unlimited exercise for the past few weeks.

Gyms and leisure centres reopening is part of the Governments roadmap for getting the country up and running again.

Restaurants and hotels are also set to return in the same phase, and could open their doors to customers again from next moth.

Concerns for both restaurants and leisure centres include the possibility of successfully adhering to the 2-metre social distancing rule, and whether it is financially viable if they have to limit their numbers. 

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The government has yet to confirm whether the hospitality sector will be able to reopen on the proposed date of July 4th. 

There have also been ‘intensive discussions’ as to when fans will be able to attend stadiums now that the Premier League has started again, according to Mr Dowden. 

Mr Dowden told the daily press briefing: “By the return of the new season, we might be in a position whereby some fans could start to return to stadiums.”

He added: “Clearly we will look at the positioning of fans, where they are relative to each other but there’s all the issue about how you get in and out of stadiums in a safe way, and how you have access to conveniences and everything else.”

In the meantime, Mr Dowden warned that fans need to watch from home to avoid the risk of spreading coronavirus, saying: “Please look after your fellow fans and communities by watching from home”.

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Drivers could soon be fined for parking on the pavement under new rules

Make sure you’re aware of the proposed rule changes

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A ban on parking on the pavement could soon be implemented across England, under new laws which are expected to be rolled out this year.

Parking on pavements would be a thing of the past, with £70 penalty fines for offenders coming into effect under the proposed new rules.

According to reports, the new legislation would see a ban on antisocial parking introduced, in a bid to make pavements safer for people with disabilities and visual impairments, as well as families.

The changes to the law which are being considered have already been implemented in London and would be rolled out nationwide.



They come in response to complaints about pavement parking and the risks it brings with it to those whose use pavements, with the Department for Transport (DfT) initially launching a proposal on the subject in September 2020.

The proposals came after a review discovered that almost half of wheelchair users and a third of visually impaired people were less willing to go out on the streets alone due to ‘antisocial’ parking on the pavement.

A spokeswoman from the DfT explained to The Mirror that the government is currently collating responses after receiving ‘overwhelming’ feedback.

The public consultation period for the proposals ended back on November 22nd, and as such a decision on the plan is expected imminently.

Jaggery / Geograph

However, Mark Tongue, director of Select Car Leasing has said that ‘the guidelines are currently quite confusing for motorists’.

The motoring company conducted a report which discovered that local authorities would have the power to dish out £70 fines if a vehicle was considered an obstruction, even if it was parked outside the driver’s house.

Mr Tongue said: “A pavement parking ban is 100% needed nationwide – anything that puts pedestrians at an increased risk requires action.

“However, the information given so far is slightly confusing for drivers. At the moment, there’s no clear guidelines for those who park on the pavement due to having no room on their own drive. Most households have more than one car, so it will be interesting to see where motorists are expected to park if not on the pavement outside their homes.

“Clear guidance is required for drivers so they know the correct location to park in order to avoid a fine.”

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Operation Forth Bridge: the full plan for what happens next after Prince Philip’s death

Buckingham Palace confirmed the sad news of his passing earlier today

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Buckingham Palace announced this afternoon that HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh has died.

The 99-year-old, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday in June, passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle this morning, Friday April 9th.

Buckingham Palace said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.

“Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

There were already strict procedures put in place for when Prince Philip died, which have now begun, and they’re known as Operation Forth Bridge.

According to the plan there are several steps that need to be followed, including everything from national mourning to a burial site for the Duke.

Operation Forth Bridge has been around for many years, with Buckingham Palace, in consultation with both the Queen and Prince Philip, regularly updating and reviewing it.

Part one of the operation was the announcement from Buckingham Palace confirming the death of the Duke, which was distributed to the Press Association and BBC first.

Then the country enters a period of national mourning, meaning a set of rules, like flags being flown at half-mast, must be followed.

According to reports, it’s thought newsreaders and other TV presenters must wear black out of respect.

Jamie McCaffrey / Flickr

Next, plans for the funeral will be drawn up, and while Prince Philip is entitled to a state funeral he reportedly wanted something more discreet – a private service in the style of a military funeral at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, followed by burial at Frogmore Gardens.

The funeral is still expected to be televised despite the current restrictions, although it remains unclear how many people will be able to attend it.

The Queen’s private secretary and senior adviser, Sir Edward Young, will be on hand to help her during the undoubtedly challenging days ahead.

As well as being responsible for supporting the Queen in her duties, Sir Edward is also the channel of communication between the Queen and the government.

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Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, has died aged 99

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Jamie McCaffrey / Flickr

Prince Philip has died aged 99, Buckingham Palace has confirmed today.

A tweet on The Royal Family Twitter account announced the news.

The Duke of Edinburgh was born 1921, and was married to Queen Elizabeth II for more than 70 years – officially the longest-serving consort in British history.

The official announcement read: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.

“Further announcements will be made in due course.

“The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

There’s been no official details about the Duke’s funeral released yet, however it has been reported that he will be given a royal ceremonial funeral rather than a state funeral, in line with his wishes.

 

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