22 Sep Coronavirus: 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants – but what other measures could be announced? | UK News
Boris Johnson is to announce new measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic after his scientific advisers warned cases could reach 49,000 a day.
Mr Johnson, who has said he does not want to put the country into a second national lockdown, is expected to announce new measures designed to slow the spread of the virus in England.
What do we know about the new restrictions and what further measures could be brought in?
What new restrictions have been announced?
Curfew and table service
A curfew was announced on Monday night, with pubs, bars and restaurants in England forced to close at 10pm every night from Thursday to try to prevent alcohol-fuelled breaches of social distancing rules.
The entire hospitality sector will also now be restricted by law to table service only – something the British Beer and Pubs Association said could push some in the sector “to breaking point”.
Work from home if you can
Ahead of Mr Johnson’s announcement, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove told Sky News: “If it is possible for people to work from home they should do so.”
He told Kay Burley there would be a “shift in emphasis” after a big push to get people back into the office just weeks before.
What other restrictions could be brought in?
A ban on socialising
The prime minister could announce a ban on different households mixing together.
Mr Johnson might remove exemptions to the “rule of six” that has been in force since 14 October, according to The Times.
Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, said on Monday that limiting social contact between households was key to tackling the virus.
He presented predictive graphs showing the nation how the virus could reach 49,000 cases a day by mid-October if further restrictive measures were not brought in.
Social gatherings of more than six people from any household are already illegal in England, while Scotland has the same rule but only two households are allowed to be in that group.
Reduction in wedding party numbers
Thirty people are currently allowed to attend weddings but this could be slashed to 15 under the new rules, The Times reports.
Delay sports and concert spectators trial
The government has been trialling spectators returning to professional sports events and indoor concert venues, with a controlled return of fans set for 1 October.
But that is expected to be delayed, with Mr Gove saying the government is looking at how it can “pause that programme”.
Compulsory face coverings
Face coverings are mandatory in shops, supermarkets and on public transport – with fines of £100 in England, and £60 in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland if you do not wear one in those places.
However, the prime minister could be bringing in further rules including making them compulsory in taxis and possibly while moving around offices, Times Radio says.
A two-week “circuit break”
The government has been looking at ways to “short-circuit” the virus to slow the spread of the disease with new more extreme restrictions over a short period of time.
Government figures have stressed the plan stops short of a full national lockdown.
The proposals could allow essential travel to schools and workplaces to continue, but restaurants and pubs would shut earlier, as has been announced.
Different households would also be asked not to mix.
The restrictions could be imposed for two weeks, but the timing and duration of the measures is yet to be finalised so that may not happen now but could happen down the line.
A second national lockdown
Health Secretary Matt Hancock refused to rule out “national action” when pressed over the possibility of a second national lockdown.
He told Sky News on Sunday that the move is a “last line of defence” but the government will do what is necessary to protect the public.
The prime minister said last week he does not want to put the country in another national lockdown but warned the government may need to “intensify things to help bring the rate of infections down”.
He added: “We’re now seeing a second wave coming in… clearly we are going to keep everything under review.”