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The six big changes to lockdown Boris Johnson just announced in Parliament

Everything you need to know…

Alex Watson

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BBC

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has addressed the nation today to impose a curfew on England’s pubs and restaurants, plus other new updates to the current rules.

Mr Johnson addressed the House of Commons starting at 12:30pm, where he confirmed the latest updates. 

The latest rules could be in place for six months, according to the Prime Minister, who warned people ‘not to be complacent’ as the virus poses a threat.

The new rules are being put in place due to the rate of Covid-19 spread, something Mr Johnson said is not just driven by more testing but also due to an increasing positivity rate. 

He added that the Covid alert level increased to four yesterday, ‘so this is the moment when we must act’. 

From Thursday evening pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be required to close by 10pm. They will also be required by law to only provide table service to help issues regarding social distancing. 

Mr Johnson will be addressing the nation in a TV announcement at 8pm this evening. 

The new updates from the House of Commons: 

10pm curfew & table service only in hospitality venues 

The curfew rules used in some areas which are in local lockdown are set to be rolled out across the country. This means all hospitality and leisure venues will be forced by law to close between 10pm and 5am, including pubs, bars, restaurants, bingo halls, cinemas and takeaways (which will be allowed to make deliveries but not to have customers in the takeaway). 

There is also expected to be tougher enforcement for pubs and restaurants when customers are found breaking the rules. Mr Johnson said: “to help the police enforce this rule that means, alas, closing not just calling for last orders, because simplicity is paramount.” Last orders must be called at 9:30pm. 

The hospitality industry will also be restricted by law to table service only from Thursday as well as the new curfew rules. 

‘Back to work’ replaces ‘work from home’ with immediate effect 

Brits have been urged to return to offices for the past few months, however,  the message from the government has now shifted to work from home if and where you can.

Office workers are being asked to work from home but for those people who need to go to work they should continue to do so in a Covid-secure way. 

Fine increases 

Failing to wear a face covering or breaking the rule of six has previously resulted in a £100 fine, however this has now been doubled to £200.

Additionally, the £10,000 fines that were already in place for people who don’t quarantine will now be also applied to businesses. 

Face coverings

The requirement to wear face coverings has now been extended to include retail staff, and all taxi users (including private hire vehicles) from Thursday. From Monday, all staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to drink or eat, must wear a face mask. 

Follow Social Distancing

The Prime Minister is expected to continue to emphasize ‘hands, face, space’. Furthermore, the capacity on weddings, from Monday, has now been reduced to 15 people. 30 people can still attend a funeral.

The rule of six has now been extended to indoor adult team sports, although five-a-side football has been removed from this.

Delay to certain sectors re-opening

From October 1st, there is a further delay on opening indoor concert venues plus a halt on the trials of spectators returning to sport events.

News

Brace for ‘tough’ Christmas, SAGE scientists warn

The next six months look tough.

Alex Watson

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Sky News/YouTube & Freestocks/Unsplash

The next six months are set to be ‘very, very difficult’, according to the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). 

Professor Jeremy Farrar has said the next three to six months will be a ‘very, very difficult’ period but the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ is effective Covid-19 treatment which should be ready by the first quarter of 2021. 

Speaking on Sky News, Prof Farrar said that a circuit-breaker national lockdown is now needed. He explained that there could currently be 50,000 cases a day. 

He said: “The ONS (Office for National Statistics) survey, which is the best data in the country at the moment, shows that 27,000 people are getting this infection every day. But that was until the 10th of October.

Walter Lee Olivares de la Cruz/Unsplash

“Today it will be over 50,000, just as the CMO (England’s chief medical officer) Chris Whitty and (the Government’s chief scientific adviser) Sir Patrick Vallance suggested some three weeks ago.

“It would be at 50,000 new cases across the country every single day, and that’s almost exactly where we are.”

When asked about Christmas, Prof Farrar said: “Christmas will be tough this year. I don’t think it’s going to be the usual celebration it is and all families coming together, I’m afraid.

“I think we have to be honest and realistic and say that we are in for three to six months of a very, very difficult period.

“The temperatures drop, we are all indoors more often, we have the other infections that come this time of year.

“It’s much better for us to be upfront and honest now, and say we are in for a really difficult time, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Prof Farrar added that a short national lockdown will be best to reduce transmission rates. he added that the best time to put this in place would have been September 20th but that ‘it was never too late’. 

He said: “The second best time to do this is now, and the worst time to do this is at the end of November when things would have really got considerably worse.

“So it’s never too late, it’s better to do it now than in a month’s time.”

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Last chance to claim £6,750 government grant for self-employed workers

Everything you need to know…

Alex Watson

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Colin Watts/Unsplash & Number 10/Flickr

Self-employed Income Support Scheme pays up to £6,750 to the tens of thousands of self-employed people – but the scheme ends today.

Tens of thousands of self-employed people have until midnight tonight to apply for a support grant from the government of up to £6,750.

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is available to businesses that earn less than £50,000 a year. 

The taxable payout is worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits and will be paid to those qualified in a single instalment.

Number 10/Flickr

The grant is capped at £2,190 a month meaning the maximum you can claim is £6,750 in total.

You will need to apply before midnight tonight (October 19th, 2020) with confirmation your business has been impacted since July 14th by the pandemic.

To be eligible you must have been self-employed before April 6th 2019 and filed a tax return for 2018/19 to HMRC.

More than half of your total income must come from self-employment and your profits must not exceed £50,000. 

Claim here

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The new Wythenshawe Community Grocery that lets people do a weekly shop for just £3

Amazing!

Alex Watson

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Message Community Grocery/Facebook

The Community Grocery store in Wythenshawe lets shoppers stock up their fridge for just £3. 

The shop is from the people behind The Mess Cafe which employs and trains ex-offenders and aims to bridge the gap between expensive supermarkets and food banks.

The store is stocked full of food donated from local suppliers and supermarkets with a drastically reduced priced. 

Local businesses such as R Noone & Son, FareShare and local branches of Tesco and The Mess Cafe’s regular suppliers have all also been donating food to the new grocery store.

Message Community Grocery/Facebook

The local community has celebrated the new shop that allows people who are left in vulnerable positions due to the pandemic shop with independence and dignity. 

The Mess Cafe provides training and employment to ex-offenders but due to the pandemic was forced to close. 

Inspired by Marcus Rashford’s efforts, The Message Trust began to prepare healthy meals for children who were missing out on school lunches – sending out a total of 60,000 meals.

The affordable grocery store idea was born after the team realised more and more families and individuals were being pushed closer to the poverty line due to the pandemic.

Message Community Grocery/Facebook

Ellie Dickinson from The Message Trust spoke to the MEN: “Initially it was just for children who weren’t in school any more but would have qualified for free school meals, and then we realised there were vulnerable families who weren’t at work, or isolating, or just couldn’t afford to go shopping.

“It made us realise that there was a real need for more than just hot meals – often people couldn’t afford their weekly shop.

“The Community Grocery is touching on two points – it’s a low-cost food shop that still gives people that agency, and no one feels like they’re going to a food bank.

“I think that is quite hard for a lot of people, if they get to that stage.

“Because it’s a shop, each week they can actually choose what they want. They’re not just given a box without knowing what’s in it.

Message Community Grocery/Facebook

“It’s actually a really aesthetically pleasing shop too – it looks like Ancoats General Store which just adds to the experience!”

The Community Grocery project has a £5 annual membership fee which allows members to receive job workshops, career advice, mental wellbeing courses plus help on writing CV and working on computers.

Following that it’s just £3 per food shop and members are able to visit twice a week.

Depending on supplies each week, the amount of food available to each member changes. The most recent week’s shopping list included; five pieces of fresh fruit or veg, two bread items, five canned or boxed items, two freezer items, two fridge items, four different ‘best before’ items (close to the best before date but still safe to eat), one ‘non-food item’, and two potted plants.

Message Community Grocery/Facebook

Ellie added: “There have been so many people in the local community who have said ‘Look, I don’t need this, but I’d like to cover someone else’s membership’. It’s been lovely.

“There’s been a real outpouring of support that we didn’t expect.

“We initially did a soft launch for the people we were delivering meals to during lockdown – they were our priority.

“But they spread the word and now we’ve got over 200 members and queues down the street! It’s been wonderful.”

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