The 10pm curfew is set to be scrapped when pubs reopen in May, according to reports.
Boris Johnson has ordered a ‘simplification’ of the rules when pubs reopen, The Sun reports.
Ministers have pencilled a return for takeaway pints in April, with pubs and bars able to reopen fully around a month later.
Reports also explain that punters will be encouraged to drink outside, including big groups being restricted to beer gardens and on pavements.
It’s predicted that half of adults in Britain will be vaccinated by May, with over 50s and the vulnerable targeted to be jabbed by the end of April – opening the doors to the return of takeaway pints in the same month and then the reopening of pubs on May Bank Holiday weekend.
The Sun adds that ministers are determined for hospitality to ‘open properly this time’ after many in the industry were left economically unviable by the curfew, confusing tier restrictions and ‘substantial’ meal restrictions.
Since the start of the pandemic, 87 million pints of beer have been wasted, costing the sector £331 million it was revealed last night.
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Our sector is in limbo.
“And at several points in the last 12 months pubs and breweries have effectively had to pour their revenues down the drain.”
The prime minister is set to layout a date and plan for the return of the hospitality sector in a lockdown speech on February 22nd.
It is reported there will be simple rules after the disaster of the ‘substantial meal’ rule.
Whitehall sources and ministers said ‘everything is contingent on the cases and deaths continuing to fall’.
One added: “Things that were proven to be a hindrance like 10pm drinking up, will go. If pubs are to reopen for good they’ve got to do it properly and can’t be stuck in limbo like last year.”
The first stages of lockdown easing are likely to include the ability to exercise and mix outside when schools return in March. This means outside markets are set to return before high street shops as well as outdoor drinking and dining before dining indoors.
Dates are yet to be confirmed.
Manchester’s George Floyd mural has been defaced with racist graffiti once again
The mural of George Floyd in the Northern Quarter has been defaced with racist graffiti once again.
A local councillor took to social media to share the news, slamming the ‘racist cowards’ who vandalised the artwork overnight.
The tribute was created by graffiti artist Akse P19 in Stevenson Square after Mr Floyd’s death sparked protests across the world.
Akse recently had to repaint the mural after it was defaced earlier this month. Around the same time two men were also arrested after filming themselves urinating on the artwork.
Councillor Jon-Connor Lyons, representing Piccadilly ward on Manchester city council, took to Twitter to share the news that once again the mural has been hit by a ‘racist vandal’.
The incident occurred at around 5.30am this morning, with a suspect spotted by CCTV operators before being chased and caught by police.
Mr Lyons took to Twitter to share the news, writing: “Earlier this morning, police officers gave chase to another racist vandal who decided to come in the dead of night to attack the George Floyd memorial.
“The man was spotted on CCTV & was chased by police through the city centre & was caught. Thank you to GMP for their vigilance!”
He added in a later tweet: “These racist vandals all come in the dead of night – they are cowards.
“They know themselves how shameful it is what they are doing, attacking a memorial of a man killed by police brutality, but obviously have to do it in the dead of night. Racist cowards the lot of them.”
Face masks and Covid tests for school kids won’t be ‘compulsory’
The guidance on masks and tests won’t be enforceable
News broke earlier in the week that secondary school students would have to wear face masks and take twice-weekly Covid tests when they return to classrooms from March 8th.
It’s now been confirmed that neither of these measures will be enforceable, with schools told they won’t actually be able to make students wear a mask.
This is despite the government saying that secondary school pupils would need to wear them, both in classrooms and in the corridor.
However, according to the finer details of the ‘operational guidance’ for schools, ‘no pupil should be denied education on the grounds that they are not wearing a face covering.’
While before Christmas a lot of secondary school and college students were wearing masks in corridors and communal areas, the ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ revealed this was being expanded so kids would have to wear them in classrooms too.
The official document states: “The government also recommends that the use of face coverings in Higher Education, Further Education and secondary schools is extended for a limited period to all indoor environments – including classrooms – unless 2m social distancing can be maintained.
“Face coverings are now also recommended in early years and primary schools for staff and adult visitors in situations where social distancing between adults is not possible, for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas.
“All children will once again be expected to attend school, as they were in the autumn term.”
The move had divided opinion among parents, with some saying they might keep their kids off school if they’re forced to wear masks, while others said they were in favour of it.
As well as face masks, it’s now been revealed that the twice-weekly Covid tests secondary students were meant to be taking are also ‘not compulsory’.
Education minister Nick Gibb confirmed that testing will be voluntary for pupils, saying that it remains ‘highly recommended’ to do so, however.
Mr Gibb added that it will not be a case of ‘no test, no school’, also clarifying that face masks will not be compulsory in schools, even though the government strongly advises pupils to use them.
He told Good Morning Britain: “No, they’re not compulsory but we highly recommend it, it’s everybody doing everything we can to identify asymptomatic cases of Covid, helping to reduce the transmission.
“The first three tests will be taken in the school that will show the students how to do it most effectively and it’s the students themselves that will do it at home with supervision by their parents.”
The UK’s Covid-19 alert level has been downgraded
‘It is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines’
Following the threat of the NHS being overwhelmed receding, the Covid alert level in the UK has been downgraded.
According to the UK’s chief medical officers, the alert level should move from 5 to 4, Sky News reports.
This is because the numbers of patients in hospital are ‘consistently declining and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded’.
Under Level 5, there was ‘a risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed’, while under Level 4 transmission of coronavirus is now ‘high or rising exponentially’ – so there’s still a way to go.
The four UK chief medical officers and NHS England’s national medical director said in a joint statement that they agreed the alert level should be downgraded.
This follows advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre, but is also ‘in light of the most recent data’.
They added: “The health services across the four nations remain under significant pressure with a high number of patients in hospital, however thanks to the efforts of public we are now seeing numbers consistently declining, and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded.
“We should be under no illusions – transmission rates, hospital pressures and deaths are still very high. In time, the vaccines will have a major impact and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they receive the offer.
“However, for the time being, it is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines.
“We know how difficult the situation has been and remains to be for healthcare workers, we thank them for their immense effort, skill and professionalism throughout the pandemic.”