The Prime Minister has today outlined the next phase of the Government’s plan to de-escalate social distancing restrictions and help get the economy back to work
He explained that the rate of infection remains low and stable, whilst deaths from coronavirus continue to decline. He also emphasised that Test and Trace continues to grow in effectiveness and highlighted how 200,000 tests are now being delivered per day.
Ahead of winter, he said that an additional £3 billion will be invested in the NHS to help maintain capacity and ensure adequate stockpiles of ventilators and PPE. Alongside this, he said that the Government will deliver 500,000 tests per day by the end of October, to help address the expected rise in people displaying coronavirus like symptoms due to seasonal illnesses.
The PM also announced that a new framework will be introduced to tackle local outbreaks when they occur. Local authorities will be granted new powers to close businesses and other premises, whilst new regulations will be introduced to allow the Government to intervene and introduce further lockdown restrictions where necessary.
Regarding returning to work, the PM said that from the beginning of August people should feel comfortable making use of public transport, and that employers will be provided with the discretion to allow their employees to work from home, or return to their offices where this can be done safely.
This easing of restrictions, will be accompanied by a raft of other changes to help reopen the economy, and the Government will:
- Reopen most remaining leisure settings, namely bowling, skating rinks and casinos, accompanied by COVID-19 Secure guidelines. This will not include particularly high-risk activities and settings such as nightclubs, which will be kept under review.
- Enable the restart of indoor performances to a live audience, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidelines, subject to the success of pilots that are taking place.
- Enable all close contact services to resume, including any treatments on the face such as eyebrow threading or make-up application.
- Carry out pilots in venues with a range of sizes of crowds, including sports stadia and business events. The pilots, some of which will begin in late July, will be carefully monitored and evaluated to inform future decisions on any further relaxation of the rules.
- Enable wedding receptions; sit-down meals for no more than 30 people, subject to COVID-19 Secure guidelines.
In terms of the future timeline, the PM explained that from September, all schools will reopen at full capacity, whilst from October he hopes to restart conferences, business events and crowds in stadia. Further restrictions will be reviewed in November, however, it should be emphasised that these all remain dependent of infection rates remaining low and controlled.
Full details out what was announced today can be viewed via this link.