The UK faces tighter restrictions as Covid-19 alert rises from level 3 to 4
Posted on 23/09/2020

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On 22 September, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the Commons and rolled out the latest measures that will be implemented for the next six months. This announcement was made after four of the UK's chief medical officers changed the Covid-19 alert from level 3 to 4, warning the government that if strict actions were not taken they could be looking at 50,000 daily cases by mid-October.

The new restrictions

The new restrictions
Oleksandr Prykhodko/123RF

Since the PM's last address, when he unveiled the rule of six, the situation has taken a turn for the worse and the government is making restrictions as tight as they can without having to resort to another national lockdown. Johnson stated that if these new restrictions did not stabilize the situation, they will have no choice but to motion a second lockdown.

"This is the moment where we must act," said Johnson. "We've reached a perilous turning point."

The biggest change that will be put into effect is the 10pm hospitality curfew. From this Thursday, bars, restaurants, pubs and takeaways will have to shut down at 10pm sharp. A failure to comply will result in a 10,000 fine for the businesses. According to Johnson, research indicated that there was a pattern between the spreading of the virus and late night drinking, hence this was the only solution. He added that face covering will be mandatory for those working in retail, hospitality and also for drivers of taxis and private vehicles. Likewise, customers who are indoors must wear their face masks until they are seated on their table. The fine has now doubled to 200 for those not wearing a face mask or abiding by the rule of six, which was introduced two weeks ago.

Along with the increased fine, Johnson addressed a few modifications that will be made to the rule of six. Now, team sports will not be able to carry out their activities if there are more than 6 players. Furthermore, an earlier allowance of 30 people for weddings and receptions has been slashed to 15, but funerals can continue with a maximum of 30 guests. The initial plan to allow spectators in sporting events from 1 October was withdrawn and this inturn will affect the Premier League. Exhibitions and business conferences will be banned as well.

The Prime Minister also requested everyone to work from home, unless it was absolutely necessary for the organisation or for their mental health and wellbeing. Despite all these new regulations, schools, universities and places of worship will continue to stay open.

In addition to the new protocol, he announced that there would be a heavy deployment of police and military in order to ensure that the public is following the rules. "We will provide the police and local authorities with the extra funding they need, a greater police presence on our streets, and the option to draw on military support where required to free up the police," said Johnson.

Finally, he assured the public that the government is doing everything they can and is better prepared for the second wave. He stressed the importance of working collectively as a nation to make sure everyone is safe and healthy. But he did warn the public that these restrictions will last for the next six months. "We will spare no effort in developing vaccines, treatments, new forms of mass testings. But unless we palpably make progress, we should assume that the restrictions I have announced will stay in place for six months", he commented.