Lockdown rules update: What you can & can’t do now as Boris Johnson postpones easing in England


BORIS Johnson has announced a new set of national lockdown rules following sweeping new restrictions across the North West of England.

In his speech, the PM pulled the breaks on current plans for reopening the country. Here are the key points of his message.

Boris announced that the country is throwing the breaks on easing lockdown measures

What was announced at the July 31 briefing?

The PM went over the latest figures, calling them “encouraging” but said that “the prevalence of the virus in England is rising for the first time since May”.

He discussed the latest ONS figures, indicating that the virus is on the rise adding “we just can’t afford to ignore this evidence”.

He announced that the national plan is being stalled until August 15 to “squeeze that brake pedal in order to keep the coronavirus under control”.

“On August 1 we had hoped to reopen in England a number of the higher risk settings, and I’m afraid we’re postponing those changes for a fortnight – casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks must remain closed. Indoor performances will not resume. Pilots of larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres will not take place.

“We have to act rapidly in order to protect the ones we love.” he said.

The national pause on shielding will proceed on August 1 as planned for most of the country.

The move comes after the Office for National Statistics revealed the number of coronavirus cases had increased in late July, with 35,700 people still infected with the bug.

Bombshell newcoronavirus rules left Brits confused after 4.5million people were issued with fresh lockdown demands with just three hours’ notice on July 30.

The government revealed at 9.16pm that households in Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire were banned from meeting each other indoors from midnight last night.

The orders came as England was hit with 846 new positive cases – the highest number in 32 days – adding to fears the country is facing a second wave of the virus.

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Here’s a look at all the coronavirus lockdown rules as they stand, and what’s set to change in the coming days.

Here’s what you can do now:

Meet friends in a park – two metres away

People across the UK are now allowed to meet with friends and family – but only at a distance.

In England, the limit is six people at a time.

In Scotland people can meet with up to eight pals at a distance, and in Northern Ireland it’s up to ten.

The Welsh Government has said two households of any size can meet outside as long as they stay within a five-mile radius of their home – but this will end on July 6.

Bubble up with single people

In England, Northern Ireland and Scotland people are allowed to form a “support bubble” with a single-person household.

If someone lives alone or has kids under 18 they can team up with another home and are allowed to be within 2metres of each other.

They can hug and even stay overnight.

Social bubbles are being considered in Wales but no firm decision has been taken.

Outdoor sports & unlimited exercise

Golf, tennis and fishing are back on across the nation as people are allowed to do unlimited exercise.

Previously people were only allowed out once a day.

Brits are allowed to play some sports like tennis outside again

Use somebody’s loo

As thousands of toilets remain shut across the country, No10 has said it’s OK to nip inside somebody else’s home if you need to use the loo.

It means Brits are able to enjoy a BBQ in the garden with friends or family without having to worry.

Travel as far as you like for a day trip – but no staying overnight

The rules for all but essential travel across England have been dropped – and Brits no longer need a reason to be out of the house.

They can travel as far as they like but must not stay away overnight.

In Wales, however, people can’t go more than five miles from their home.

In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has urged people to keep their trips local if they can.

Covid alert level dropped to three

On Friday, June 19, the coronavirus alert level was lowered from four to three – as infections and deaths continued to fall.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the move as a “big moment for the country” and praised Brits’ determination to beat the disease.

This stage allows for a “gradual relaxation of restrictions and social distancing measures”.

Two metre rule cut to 1m

The PM said today that he will cut the 2m rule down to one – meaning people will be able to get closer to each other.

The news will be a sign of relief to the hospitality industry, who have long warned they won’t be able to survive with people having to stay 2m apart, and thus having fewer people in their venues.

Hospitality sector to reopen from July

The PM today announced that pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and hotels could open their doors again from July 4 – three months after they were ordered to shut.

Detailed guidance will be published for each sector so businesses that do open can be Covid Secure.

It means staycations will be back on as families will be allowed to go on holiday in the UK.

Brits may have to book online before going to the pub, have to leave their contact details at restaurants or use a mask in future, as the distance is reduced.

Cinemas, museums and art galleries to return

Downing Street confirmed last night that cinemas, museums and art galleries will be among a raft of venues allowed to reopen from July 4. 

They will need to meet new Covid-safety measures such as one-way systems, spaced queueing, increased ventilation and pre-booked tickets. 

The Government will issue sector-specific guidance to ensure the public remain safe. 

Visiting friends and family is on – but you may have to stay 2m away

Millions of families and friends will be allowed to visit each other’s homes for the first time in months.

People in England will be able to have sleepovers and stay with family or friends from July 4, but they will still have to keep their distance.

Hugging and other body contact is unlikely to be allowed under the plans but people will be allowed to stay at each other’s homes overnight.

Staycations update

The PM also today gave the greenlight for Brits to book staycations from July 4 by allowing hotels and B&Bs to reopen. 

All but essential travel has been banned for the last three months abroad.

But the news means people can start booking a well-earned holiday.

An update on holidays and staycations is expected every four weeks

Haircuts return

Shaggy-haired Brits will be able to get a professional cut from July 4 after weeks of DIY disasters, Boris also said.

All hairdressers will be required to wear full-face plastic visors to reduce the risk of infection. 

There will also be strict rules about disinfecting equipment.

Fresh lockdown warning

However, Boris Johnson will warn the public that they must continue to follow social distancing guidelines to keep the coronavirus under control. 

If there are widespread breaches of the rules resulting in the virus threatening to run out of control, the easements will be the first to be reversed., he will say.

A No10 spokesperson said: “The reason we are able to move forward this week is because the vast majority of people have taken steps to contain the virus. 

“The more we open up, the more important it is that everyone follows the social distancing rules. 

“We will not hesitate to put the handbrake on to stop the virus running out of control.”