PUBS, hairdressers and gyms will be forced to close from next week in a new national lockdown, Boris Johnson has announced.
The measures were revealed in a live TV address this evening as the government attempts to combat a surge in coronavirus cases.
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It comes as the Office for National Statistics estimated that 568,100 people were infected with coronavirus in the week ending October 23.
There are now fears the virus is spreading faster than the initial "worst-case scenario" predicted.
Britain today also passed one million Covid cases after 21,915 more people tested positive for the bug.
To combat the spread of Covid-19, Boris Johnson if forcing a number of businesses to close from Thursday until December 2 in an attempt to save Christmas.
But it will apply to England only – Scotland and Wales have said they will assess the situation and apply their own rules.
The PM will also face a huge Tory rebellion from his backbenchers, who are determined to fight another national shutdown.
They will have to vote on the national measures this week before they can come into force.
During the press conference, Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser, said: “What is clear that in terms of deaths over the winter, there is the potential for this to be twice as bad in comparison to the first wave."
Which businesses must close?
A number of business must close for four weeks to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The government is yet to release the full guidance, but below are which businesses are expected to be affected:
- Restaurants, except for takeaway and delivery
- Pubs, except for takeaway and delivery
- Bars, except for takeaway and delivery
- Non-essential retail shops, including electronics and clothing stores
- Leisure centres, such as bowling alleys and soft play centres
- Hairdressers and nail salons
Restaurants, pubs and hairdressers have been open since July 4, while non-essential retailers were allowed to welcome back customers from June 15.
Gyms were among the last businesses to reopen after the first lockdown, and were only given the green light to do so from July 25.
Meanwhile, nightclubs, along with dance halls and discotheques still haven't reopened after being forced to shut in March.
Which businesses can stay open?
Only a small group of retailers were allowed to stay open during the first lockdown.
This list of businesses is expected to remain the same, which includes:
- Takeaways and food deliveries
- Health shops
- Medical services – eg, dentists
- Pet shops
- Hardware stores
- Garden centres
- Retail shops in hospitals
- Petrol stations
- Bicycle shops
- Laundrettes and dry cleaners
- Banks, building socities
- Short-term loan providers, credit unions and cash points
- Storage and distribtion centres
- Post Offices
- Car rental services and car parks near vital services such as supermarkets
- Public toilets
- Car garages and repair shops
- Food banks and shelters
The news was met with dismay from those in the hospitality industry – fearing another lockdown’s effect on their businesses.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said a national lockdown would be “absolutely devastating” for the industry and called for the sector to receive “significant additional help in order to get through this”.
While Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, added that it would "cause untold damage to the high streets this close to Christmas.
She added that it would also "cost countless jobs, and permanently set back the recovery of the wider economy, with only a minimal effect on the transmission of the virus".
The announcement comes after ministers were briefed by scientific advisers this afternoon in an emergency crunch meeting, following leaked reports of the second lockdown looming.
It was reported that Britain faces a "massive spike" in Covid deaths on Christmas Eve if no action is taken, scientists warned.
Brits reacted by hitting the shops and panic buying loo roll and milk, while also making plans to flee out of cities to the countryside.
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