23 September 2020 14:43
England will become subject to a series of new lockdown rules - with bars, pubs and restaurants forced to close at 10pm, and face masks becoming compulsory for all retail workers. As well as these rules, which come into force tomorrow, adults will now be banned from playing indoor team sports, meaning that popular games like five-a-side football will be put on hold for the timebeing. A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport told Manchester Evening News: "Adult indoor team sport at grassroots level, like basketball or five a side football, is no longer exempt from the rule of six. How the new lockdown rules differ across the UK - everything you need to know (Photo: Shutterstock) Following conference calls between the Prime Minister and the leaders of each of the devolved nations earlier this week, a raft of new restrictions aimed at bringing down the rate of coronavirus infections have been announced. In England, it's still fine to socialise indoors with people from other households, so long as you're maintaining the rule of six and social distancing where necessary.
But in Scotland and Northern Ireland, indoor visits to other people's houses are now banned, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon telling the Scottish public yesterday, "Please don't meet people in their homes or your home - because that is where the virus often spreads." Following the new restrictions announced on 22 September, a new 10pm to 5am curfew will be mandatory across the hospitality sector in England, Wales and Scotland, with pubs told they must be shut by 10pm, not offering last orders at that time. While Boris Johnson's government did spend several weeks encouraging the public to return to offices in order to restart the economy, in his speech on 22 September he clarified that, due to rising case numbers, workers should continue to work from home if they can, for the foreseeable future. While the levels of attendance allowed for funerals has been set at the same level as weddings in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in England the original limit of 30 people is still in effect. The Welsh First Minister has advised against unnecessary journeys, while a quarter of the population is under local lockdown "Please think carefully about making journeys, only travel when you need to do so, the fewer people we meet and the fewer journeys we make the safer we all are," he said in a message to the nation. There are no further restrictions on Welsh accommodation providers or visitor attractions as it stands, but the Government advice could deter visitors and make it tough for businesses to stay open.
As it stands, for areas where a local lockdown is not in place, accommodation providers, visitor attractions and hospitality businesses can continue to operate while following the rules on face coverings, group gatherings, table service and 10pm closures. Yet, given the First Minister's advice against non-essential travel – and the quarter of the Welsh population being under local lockdown – it may be all but impossible for many businesses to continue as normal. Ashford Price, co-chair of the Welsh Association of Visitor Attractions (WAVA) and chairman of the National Showcaves Centre for Wales told Telegraph Travel: "The statement 'only essential travel' [by the First Minister] will curtail potential visits to attractions," adding "this news will mean the end of the season for some." Provided it is in an area not under local lockdown and you follow coronavirus restrictions, such as the rule of six, then yes. The rules are different across the UK, with legislation for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. At the height of lockdown, the rules meant you couldn't meet with anyone from outside your household - so couples who didn't live together were banned from meeting, dating or having sex.
The latest Covid-19 rules introduced in the last few weeks - as well as those from Boris Johnson and the national leaders yesterday - mean that is, generally, no longer the case. The rules for England suggest you should not be starting new intimate relationships - but sex and dating with someone you are in an 'established relationship' with are permitted. The latest Govermment guidance, updated on September 22, reads: "You do not need to socially distance from anyone in your household, meaning the people you live with. Some areas have introduced tougher local lockdown rules - including the North East, North West, West Midlands and East Midlands. Generally those rules ban meeting up with people from another household. Any new lockdown rules in England would be likely to include scrapping the rule of six - allowing up to six people to meet - and replacing it with a ban on missing households. Pubs and restaurants in both Wales and England will have to close by 10pm from Thursday after new rules were put in place by First Minister Mark Drakeford and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. New rules were announced in televised statements by both Mr Drakeford and Mr Johnson on Tuesday evening. It comes as part of new Government restrictions over fears of a further rise in the number of Covid-19 infections. Pubs in Llanymynech, situated either side of the border, were expecting to have to adhere to different rules, with there being no sign of a change to rules in Wales prior to Mr Drakeford's announcement. Prior to the announcement, he said: "There is a possibility that there may be a rush of people wanting to come here after the pubs close the other side of the border. General manager of The Bradford Arms Hotel on the English side of Llanymynech, Bob Hedley, also spoke about the possibility of the two village pubs having to abide by different rules prior to the announcement.