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Pubs and restaurants from Greater Manchester begin legal action to stop new local lockdown restrictions

Everything you need to know…

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Number 10/Flickr & David Dixon/Geograph

Greater Manchester leaders and hospitality businesses are preparing a legal challenge to new lockdown restrictions being announced later today. 

A new three-tiered local lockdown system is set to be announced today when the prime minister addresses the House of Commons at 3:30pm. 

According to many reports, it is believed that Manchester will be placed in the Tier 3 category, which is the category that will house the ‘very high risk’ areas.

It will mean pubs, bars and possibly restaurants will close in the area. 

Negotiations are being made between local leaders on how the lockdown will look in the areas.

Five Manchester MP’s signed a letter addressed to Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak saying they would oppose any closures as the data ‘would not seem to support a rationale for your proposed measures’.

Night Time Economy Advisor, Sacha Lord, has confirmed he has instructed lawyers to ‘begin a Judicial Review into the legality of the emergency restrictions due to be imposed on the hospitality and entertainment sectors’.

Along with Sacha Lord, The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), The British Beer and Pub Association, Middleton brewery JW Lees, Manchester’s Joseph Holts Brewery, Stockport’s Robinsons Brewery, the New River Pub Company, Hawthorn Leisure, and operators across Greater Manchester including Alberts Schloss, 20 Stories, San Carlo, Wood Restaurant, Gusto, Living Ventures, Evuna, The Alchemist, O’Sheas and Atlas Bar are all supporting the move. 

Sacha Lord has asked the government for the scientific basis behind the rules, adding: “There is currently no tangible scientific evidence to merit a full closure of the hospitality and entertainment sectors.

“Our discussions and ongoing calls for evidence have been ignored and we have therefore been left with little choice but to escalate the matter further.”

Chief executive of the NTIA, Michael Kill, said: “The industry has been left with no other option but to legally challenge the so called ‘common sense’ approach narrative from Government, on the implementation of further restrictions across the North of England.

“These new measures will have a catastrophic impact on late night businesses, and are exacerbated further by an insufficient financial support package presented by the Chancellor in an attempt to sustain businesses through this period.

“This next round of restrictions are hugely disproportionate and unjust, with no scientific rationale or correlation to PHE transmission rates, when compared to other key environments.

“Systematic closure of businesses across the UK must be challenged when there is no clear evidence or reason.”

Manchester City Council Leader, Sir Richard Leese told the Times Radio yesterday that there was a ‘large gulf’ between the government and the city in ongoing discussions of further restrictions. 

He said: “We seem to have an almost impossible task of penetrating the Westminster bubble”.

He added that there is ‘no evidence closing pubs works’ according to the council’s own data. 

He also explained that the government had talked about a four-week ‘sunset’ clause to review the restrictions but that there is ‘not clarity’ on the issue.

The new restrictions are expected to come into play on Wednesday at 5pm, according to The Telegraph.

Any business forced to close their doors is reportedly expected to see two-thirds of each employee’s monthly wages of up to £2,100 paid by government.

A Downing Street spokesperson added that this is a ‘critical juncture’ and that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s expansion of the Jobs Support Scheme will ‘protect jobs and enable businesses to reopen quickly once restrictions are lifted’.

Ed Miliband explained that fewer than just one in 15 jobs will benefit from the scheme when businesses are forced to shut down. For instance those working in industries which are not ‘legally closed’ but have been forced to shut like events, weddings and cinemas won’t receive the money.

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Teen stops young girl being taken by stranger claiming to be ‘dad’s friend’ as she walked home from school

Emma’s quick thinking saved the school girl from being taken by a stranger

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A teenage girl has been praised for her quick thinking as she prevented a child being taken from a stranger.

Fifteen year old Emma Carlile was walking home from school through Wallasey Village in Wirral, Merseyside, when she noticed a man approaching a school girl and telling her that he was her ‘dad’s mate.’

Emma noticed that the girl, who is believed to be around eleven years old, looked alarmed, so decided to intervene.

Emma’s dad, Rik, told the Liverpool Echo: “She said she was walking along and she saw a ‘creepy looking man’ approach a young girl and put his arm around her, which she thought looked odd.

Emma Carlile / Facebook

“She noticed when the man approached her she looked a bit startled and then she heard the man say, ‘I’m your dad’s friend, don’t you remember me? I’ve been to your house before’.”

Rik continued: “The girl was saying ‘no, I don’t remember’ but he kept going on saying, ‘I’m your dad’s friend, I’ve met you before.’ At one point, the girl tried to get her phone out and the man said, ‘no you don’t need to ring anyone, you know who I am, I’m your dad’s mate.’”

Emma followed them around a corner and, as they approached a crossing, shouted the first name that came into her head. 

She said: “Hey Bethany! Dad will be home tonight from police training.”

The girl apparently looked at her and looked startled but relieved at the same time. As soon as Emma spoke, the man quickly walked away down towards Wallasey Village train station.

Rept0n1x / Wikimedia Commons

Rik said that Emma walked with the girl until she was home safely and informed her parents about what had just happened. 

Rik shared his daughter’s encounter on Facebook to warn people with children walking home alone from school. He wrote: “WARNING! My 15 year old daughter was walking home from Weatherhead today through Wallasey village and witnessed an older man walk up to a girl with a Harry Potter backpack and a green coat.

“The man put his arm around her claiming he was her “dads friend,” My daughter recognised that the girl looked alarmed and didn’t know the man and followed them from by the co-op to the crossing by the petrol station.

“Please make your children aware if they walk home alone.”

Emma described the man as being around 6ft tall with short grey hair and stubble. He was of large build wearing a green t-shirt and black trousers.

If you have any information, you can contact Merseyside Police on 0151 709 6010 or, alternatively, you can get in touch online here.

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Leaked documents reveal which Covid restrictions may remain after July 19th

We might have to wear our face masks for a little bit longer…

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Number 10 / Flickr & Kristoffer Trolle / Flickr

Leaked documents are claiming that the current social distancing rules and restrictions will be staying in place after the revised ‘freedom day’ on July 19th.

The memo, obtained by Politico, listed a number of restrictions that the government plans to keep in place for the foreseeable future.

According to the leaked documents, face masks may have to remain mandatory in certain settings for the long term, employers and employees will be told to decide amongst themselves as to whether they want to return to the office or work from home.

As well as that, it says some form of border control and quarantine will be needed for a significant period of time to prevent new variants entering the country.

Number 10 / Flickr

The memo also states that plastic screens – such as those currently used in hairdressers and restaurants – may actually spread Covid rather than prevent it.

Ministers are also considering bringing in new rules for businesses to keep workplaces better ventilated, the documents claim. 

Cabinet office sources have since stressed that the document was one of several including multiple options – with nothing signed off by ministers yet or anywhere near being announced.

This comes just days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed back the highly anticipated ‘freedom day’, June 21st, by just short of a month to July 19th. 

Johnson said this was a result of the new Delta variant, which makes up for 90% of new cases across the country: “I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer.

“I am confident we won’t need more than four weeks – it’s unmistakably clear that the vaccines are working – but now is the time to ease off the accelerator.

“We have the chance to save many thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more people.”

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Covid vaccine to be mandatory for care home workers

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Gov.uk & Asian Development Bank / Flickr

The Covid-19 vaccine is to become mandatory for all care home staff members across the country, new reports detailed last night. 

It is believed that care staff will be given sixteen weeks to receive the jab or will face the possibilities of either being moved to a different posting or losing their jobs entirely.

The Guardian reported that the new plans are expected to be announced in the next couple of days.

Province of British Columbia / Flickr

It is expected that ministers will also be pushing ahead with compulsory vaccination for most of the 1.5 million people working in social care across the country, despite employer and staff organisations warning that it could result in workers quitting rather than getting vaccinated.

The reports also claim that the government is keen to make it mandatory for the 1.38 million people who are employed by the NHS in England to get vaccinated against Covid-19 – proposals that have already been criticised by groups representing doctors, nurses and other staff.

Workers who can prove they are medically exempt from receiving the vaccine will not be affected.

Gov.uk

The government has been widely criticised for its lack of support of care homes at the start of the pandemic; residents were heavily affected by the outbreak of Covid-19 and significant numbers, including many people with dementia, died as a result.

An investigation by Amnesty International late last year found that a series of ‘shockingly irresponsible’ Government decisions put tens of thousands of older people’s lives at risk and led to multiple violations of care home residents’ human rights.

As a result, between March 2nd and June 12th this year, 28,186 ‘excess deaths’ were recorded in care homes across England, with over 18,500 care home residents confirmed to have died with Covid-19 during this period.

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