Plans to restart wedding receptions have been scrapped and new face covering rules are coming in as the Government announced England’s latest lockdown changes.
Boris Johnson’s update to the nations just as millions affected by new local lockdowns in northern England coronavirus hot-spots face were told to follow stricter new rules, and with little notice.
Residents of Greater Manchester, and parts of East Lancashire and West Yorkshire were plunged into chaos overnight as new Covid-19 restrictions were brought in.
The ban took effect from midnight with just three hours’ warning, and prohibit people from meeting other households in all indoor settings, including private homes and gardens.
At a press conference on Friday afternoon, the Prime Minister outlined the reason for the new lockdowns, saying he had warned the Government would act ‘swiftly and decisively’ to stamp out local outbreaks – and more areas could follow.
He also announced rule changes affecting all of England, declaring face coverings would be compulsory in more indoor settings including cinemas and churches.
He postponed reopening of more settings including ice rinks, casinos and bowling alleys for another fortnight, along with wedding receptions of more than 30 people.
He also put off reopening close-contact services – meaning beauty treatments like brows and facials due to restart on Saturday that many Brits will have booked in must be cancelled.
England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty warned the UK had potentially ‘reached the limit’ of how much society could reopen, as infections rise once again.
Here are the key changes and rules you need to know about from Saturday, August 1.
All these venues are able to remain in most of England providing they can show they are ‘Covid-secure’:
- Hotels and B&Bs
- Holiday apartments or homes
- Cottages or bungalows
- Caravan parks
- Boarding houses
- Places of worship
- Community centres
- Restaurants, cafes and workplace canteens
- Nail bars
- Beauty salons
- Swimming pools, lidos and water parks
- Bingo halls
- Theatres and concert halls – but on the basis it’s not a live performance. They can only screen past performances for example
- Museums and galleries
- Hair salons and barbers
- Outdoor playgrounds
- Outdoor gyms
- Theme parks
- Adventure parks and activities
- Amusement arcades
Other indoor leisure centres and facilities – including indoor gaming, social clubs, model villages, and indoor attractions at aquariums and zoos.
Face coverings and masks
Face masks will be compulsory in more indoor spaces, in one of the biggest changes announced on Friday affecting all of England.
The coverings are already mandatory on public transport, unless you have a medical reason or disability that allows you to be exempt from the rules.
That includes conditions like asthma, and also people accompanying someone with a condition who needs to be able to lip-read their companion.
From August 8 the new rules will become law, and will required face coverings be worn in indoor settings where it is difficult to practise social distancing – including cinemas, galleries and houses of worship like churches.
The PM will ask police to crack down harder on those breaking the rules.
Read more about this rule change here.
You can visit cinemas, galleries and museums – but not have a big wedding reception
Wedding receptions of more than 30 people have been banned throughout England with just 12 hours notice.
Rules were set to change from August 1 in England to allow small, socially-distanced receptions of up to 30 people.
However, the move was one of those postponed for at least two weeks today by Boris Johnson.
Wedding ceremonies of up to 30 people have already been allowed in England since July 4 and can continue – including in Greater Manchester, which is among the northern areas facing separate restrictions from today.
However, guests must be socially-distanced and the ceremony must follow Covid-secure guidelines.
With face coverings mandatory in places of worship from August 8 – though it’s not yet clear if there’ll be exemptions for the bride and groom.
The PM also postponed the reopening of more indoor gatherings and businesses that were due to restart tomorrow.
Casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and remaining close contact services must remain closed, he said
Indoor performances will not resume – ruling out live music, theatre, and dance, and indoor classes.
Larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres will also remain off limits
Wedding receptions of up to 30 people will not be permitted, but ceremonies can continue to take place, in line with coronavirus guidelines.
(More on the changes to these rules for northern lockdowns follow below.)
You can get a haircut – but you still can’t get your brows done
Hairdressers and barbers remain open with protective measures – including face visors for those cutting hair.
Nail and beauty salons are now open too.
Beauty salons were given the go ahead to re-open on July 13, just over a week after hairdressers were given the green light.
But there remains restrictions on procedures including eyebrow treatments, facials, eye lash tinting and face waxing.
More treatments were due to be allowed from August 1.
However the PM today announced the changes due to take effect on Saturday would be postponed at least another fortnight.
What you still can’t do anywhere in England:
You can visit friends and family indoors – but you still can’t hug
People in most of England can have friends and family round to their house to eat, hang out and stay overnight – but they still can’t hug.
You can also meet in all indoor settings like pubs and restaurants, provided they follow social distancing rules.
Indoor gatherings will be allowed between two households who haven’t joined together in a “bubble”.
Bubbles – a permanent joining of two households which let people break social distancing rules and stay over – still haven’t been expanded.
Currently bubbles can be formed of two households.
One of the bubble households has to have only one adult in it, such as a grandparent living alone, a single parent with kids, or a couple who live apart where at least one lives alone.
Your household is allowed to meet with one other household at a time. That potentially includes staying over at someone’s house, as long as social distancing rules are followed indoors.
More on the changes to these rules for northern lockdowns follow below.
Currently up to six people from up to six households can meet in a park or garden, if they maintain social distancing – and that hasn’t changed for most of England except in the new lockdown areas.
Two households of any size – for example, two families of four – can also meet outdoors, as long as they maintain social distancing.
So you can either meet five friends from different households, or an unlimited number of friends from one household.
This is guidance. The law only prohibits gatherings of more than 30 people – except for indoor gatherings in the new lockdown area (more of this below).
You can go to the pub – but you can only meet one other household inside
Pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes and workplace canteens remain open.
If you’re indoors, you can only meet with people from one other household. And you should still maintain social distancing rules.
That means staying either two metres apart, or one metre apart with mitigation measures if you can’t manage two metres.
It means no propping up the bar or standing in groups, and pubs will be encouraged to have table service where possible.
All venues – from pubs to places of worship – will be expected to keep a record of people who visit, to enable contact tracing.
More on the changes to these rules for northern lockdowns follow below.
You can go on staycation to English hotels, B&Bs and campsites – but not hostels
Hotels, B&Bs, holiday apartments or homes, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks and boarding houses are all reopen to paying guests in England.
They must follow coronavirus guidelines – but people will be able to stay overnight away from their home.
Despite concerns over shared facilities, campsites are reopen too, as long as they have showers and washing-up blocks.
Hostels with shared bedrooms cannot yet reopen.
The government has not said people in northern regions cannot travel.
People in the new lockdown zone, such as Greater Manchester, may continue to travel in and out of the new lockdown area, as long as you do not break the rules on meetings indoors.
You can’t send your child to school
Only years R, 1 and 6 are allowed back to primary schools in England at the moment.
The government wants all children back in September – but was forced to drop plans to do it earlier.
Boris Johnson said today getting kids back to school by September remains a ‘national priority.’
Shielding people can meet groups of friends outside
Shielding was eased for 2.2million vulnerable people in England earlier this morng.
Shielding people can go out and meet up to five friends – and if they live alone, form a ‘bubble’ with another household.
From August 1, the advice to shield ends completely.
But Statutory Sick Pay and direct food parcels for the shielding will also end tomorrow.
You can go back to the office or use public transport – if your workplace is ‘safe’
Guidelines on avoiding public transport unless it’s absolutely necessary remain.
The government has been urging workplaces to begin reopening if they can follow social distancing guidelines indoors safely.
Everyone else should carry on working from home if at all possible.
You can travel abroad – with limits
You can travel abroad – and ‘air bridges’ mean no quarantine for Brits heading back from summer holidays in some parts of Europe and farther afield.
However the limits of the policy have been felt by Spain holidaymakers, after a series of outbreaks sparked the UK government to close the air bridge abruptly.
The UK allows travellers coming from a select list of countries to arrive without a 14-day quarantine period, including Brits returning from holidays from those countries.
See which countries remain on the air bridge list here.
Lockdown changes for Greater Manchester, east Lancashire, and West Yorkshire
New laws are being passed to ban meeting people from other households in private homes or gardens, or travelling in cars together.
People can still meet in a public area like a park if they follow social distancing rules.
People will also still be able to visit pubs or restaurants – but only with their own households, and they can’t meet up with others indoors – even in beer gardens.
They also won’t be able to visit care homes.
There will be some exceptions, such as for household “bubbles”.
The government shortly after midnight updated guidance saying the government would pass new laws to enforce changes to the new northern lockdowns.
While it made clear people will be fined £100 for breaking the rules in the localised restrictions, the law to enforce it did not exist at the time the lockdowns kicked in.
However the preliminary guidance did explain what was coming: “The police will be able to take action against those that break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices (starting at £100 – halving to £50 if paid in the first 14 days – and doubling for subsequent offences).”
What areas are affected by local lockdowns?
Greater Manchester, eastern parts of Lancashire, and West Yorkshire are all affected. The city of Leicester is still in a partial lockdown, which is easing.
- Greater Manchester:
- City of Manchester
- Blackburn with Darwen
- West Yorkshire:
Read more on the new rules affecting the northern areas HERE.