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Pubs could reopen from July with social distancing measures, minister says

Some big news!

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A minister said yesterday that pubs could tentatively start to reopen from as early as July if social distancing measures were in place. 

The news comes from the environment secretary, George Eustice, who stressed that pubs were on track to open in weeks as long as they could space out customers. 

Mr Eustice told the Commons: “Of course we also recognise that until things return to something closer to normal and they can open normally, hopefully later this summer, then it will not give them all of the trade they previously had.”

Credit: Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis / Unsplash

He also added: “As the Prime Minister has outlined, we intend that the hospitality sector including pubs would be able to tentatively start gradually opening hopefully during the month of July – subject to the epidemiology supporting such a move.

“And of course we are already working with the hospitality and pub sector to identify what social distancing measures they might be able to put in place to make that work properly.”

Mr Eustice’s comments mirror Dominic Raab’s remarks on the topic earlier this month, that pubs and restaurants would not open until July 4th at the earliest. 

Mr Raab said: “From 4th July, at the earliest, we’ll look at other sectors and that will include hospitality, but it will also include personal care and people like hairdressers.

“Obviously the proximity in those two sectors is something where we don’t think we’re ready yet, given where we are with the virus.”

As part of the Prime Minister’s road mad, pub reopenings were expected to be on the cards once we reach stage three of the lockdown easing plan. 

Pubs with outdoor spaces or enough space to ensure people can safely social distance will be the only pubs able to reopen. 

According to scientists, Coronavirus spreads more easily in enclosed spaces and less so outside. 

Credit: Luca Bravo / Unsplash

The British Beer and Pub Association said that Britain’s pubs were pouring away as much as 70 million untouched pints by being closed during the lockdown.

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Re-opening in July will be great for those pubs who can meet the social-distancing measures required by then.

“We stand ready to work with the Government to help pubs re-open in a safe and financially viable way as soon as possible.”

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Around 3,000 properties at risk of flooding tonight in Greater Manchester as heavy rain continues

Stay safe out there everyone

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@TPT_Stockport / Twitter

As Storm Christoph continues to batter Greater Manchester, some areas of south Manchester and Trafford are at risk of flooding tonight.

Around 3,000 properties will be at risk this evening, according to the police, as authorities continue to monitor the rainfall and its impact on our rivers – with several warnings already issued.

Speaking at Andy Burnham’s press conference earlier this afternoon, Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey detailed the latest information.

According to him, the areas most at risk across Greater Manchester will be those near the River Mersey, specifically Didsbury, Northenden, Sale, and potentially parts of Stretford and Flixton.

ACC Bailey said: “As we speak, residents across those areas are being contacted by the Environment Agency and local authorities to advise them.

“Alerts have already been put out, people there are being advised to consider evacuation procedures should that happen.

“We are going to start to see the overflow contingency provisions at around 5pm. That will reach a peak at around 11pm this evening where we will see flooding of those areas.

“In its worst-case scenario, estimated by the Environment Agency, that could impact on up to 3,000 properties across all the areas.

“This is a significant incident in terms of disruption to population.”

ACC Nick Bailey went on to say that those 3,000 properties might not need to evacuate, adding that authorities will be working ‘right up to the last minute’ to try and prevent that from happening.

In the meantime, Manchester and Trafford councils have been setting up rest centres for anyone who does need to evacuate, and police have confirmed that Covid restrictions do not apply in an evacuation situation – you should leave your home if necessary.

 ACC Bailey added: “Those people have been advised with regards of advice to take where they do feel the need to take action to prevent them being harmed.

“We need to make sure they do take that action, they do make sure they’re safe. The legislation around covid will not be applied there are exemptions.

“If you need to take action, join other bubbles go other properties, please do that if that’s necessary to do that to protect you and your family.”

If you’re worried about the situation you can contact your local authority, however if it’s an emergency dial 999.

Stay safe out there everyone!

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Calls for a national day of remembrance for all the lives lost in the Covid pandemic

A petition has been launched

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Rachael Lidgett / Facebook

There’s been calls for a national day of remembrance to be introduced, so we can honour and remember everyone who tragically lost their lives during the Covid pandemic.

Rachael Lidgett, whose dad Christopher sadly died after contracting coronavirus, has started a petition to create a ‘national holiday and day of remembrance for those lost in the Covid pandemic’.

Rachael’s petition reads: “I would like the Government to create a national holiday & day of remembrance for all the lives lost in the COVID pandemic.

“I propose this to be on the 23rd March as this is the date a national lockdown began in the UK.”

At the time of writing the petition has 3,260 signatures, with Rachael, from Leyland, calling on the government to hold the day on March 23rd – the date the first lockdown began. 

She continues: “I lost my father, Christopher Cooper on the 6th December 2020 to Covid Pneumonia. He was a fit and healthy 63 year old, with no underlying medical conditions. This has truly devastated us as a family.

“As of 8/01/21 there are 78,508 recorded Covid-related deaths in the UK and 1.9 Million deaths across the world.

“The pandemic is still here and taking more lives each day. I feel it is important that as a country we are able to remember all those who have been cruelly taken from us.”

You can sign the petition here

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Teachers, police officers and shop workers might be given priority in next vaccine rollout phase

Thoughts?

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Taylor Wilcox / Unsplash

Officials are considering who should be a priority in the next phase of the vaccine rollout.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi says they are looking into jobs that come into close contact with the public and considering if they should be given priority access. 

This means the likes of teachers, police officers and shop workers could be in the next phase of the vaccine rollout.

The decision will be made by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), and Matt Hancock has called for a national debate on prioritisation.

Daniel Schludi / Unsplash

Mr Zahawi told Times Radio: “Teachers, police officers, shop workers, those who through no fault of their own, other than the work that they do, may come into contact with the virus at much greater volume [should be] the top of the list.”

Outlining how a decision on priority should be made, Matt Hancock said at the Downing Street press conference on Monday: “The clinical advice is to go through the top groups… and then after that it is essentially about protecting people as well as possible according to a judgment about who should come next.

“That is why we should have a debate about that.

“Ninety-nine per cent of deaths occur in the top nine groups and after that it is about protecting against transmission and getting life back to normal as soon as possible.”

King Church / Unsplash

Currently, the order of priority for phase one is: 

  1. Care home residents and their carers
  2. Those 80 and over, and frontline health and social care workers
  3. Those 75 and over
  4. Those 70 and over, and clinically extremely vulnerable people
  5. Those 65 and over
  6. People between 16-65 with underlying health conditions which put them at risk of more serious illness from COVID-19
  7. Those 60 and over
  8. Those 55 and over
  9. Those 50 and over

A petition calling for teachers, school and childcare staff to be prioritised has now gained 470,000 signatures with some arguing it could help with schools reopening. 

The chairman of the Police Federation John Apter has called for police officers to be given the vaccine as soon as possible. 

Dorset Police have also backed the calls after two officers tested positive for Covid-19 at an anti-lockdown rally in Bournemouth.

One of the officers said: “Police officers shouldn’t be the first in line for the vaccine and we know the risks of our job, but we see vast amounts of people every day.

“If a call comes in, we have to go to it; we can’t say we won’t go to it. And we are putting ourselves, and our families at risk, every single day.”

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