Prime Minister announces new Covid restrictions

Date published: 22 September 2020

Boris Johnson has today (Tuesday 22 September) announced new Covid restrictions.

The Prime Minister said measures “will only work if people comply", adding if things don’t improve, these measures could last for six months.

He said: "We are not issuing a general instruction to stay at home.

"We will ensure that schools, colleges and universities stay open - because nothing is more important than the education, health and well-being of our young people.

"We will ensure that businesses can stay open in a Covid-compliant way.

"However, we must take action to suppress the disease."

Stricter penalties will be imposed – the £10,000 fine for those who don’t quarantine will be applied to businesses, the penalty for failing to wear mask or breaking the rules on gatherings will double to £200.

From Thursday (24 September), all hospitality venues in England must close by 10pm and will be restricted to table service only.

This includes all pubs, restaurants and bars.

Mr Johnson said: "To help the police to enforce this rule, I am afraid that means alas closing, and not just calling for last orders. Simplicity is paramount.

"The same will apply to takeaways - though deliveries can continue thereafter.

"I am sorry this will hurt many businesses just getting back on their feet, but we must act to stop the virus from being transmitted in bars and restaurants."

Table bookings of more than six are not allowed, and the hospitality sector is legally required to take customers’ contact details so they can be traced and contacted if an outbreak is linked to the venue.

Staff in hospitality and retail will now need to wear face masks, as well as passengers travelling in a taxi and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.

Exemptions to the ‘rule of six’ will be reduced – an example would be indoor team sports will now not allowed.

Schools and colleges will remain open.

Businesses can stay open in a Covid-compliant way, but the advice is now for people to work from home if possible, rather than returning to the workplace.

Plans for trials to see the public return to sporting events have been paused. Pilot events had been held over the past few weeks with the intention of returning all venues to 30% capacity by the start of October.

Mr Johnson said: "I recognise the implications for our sports clubs, which are the life and soul of our communities, and my RH Friends the Chancellor and Culture Secretary are working urgently on what we can do now to support them."

Today's announcements follow additional changes announced yesterday by Health Secretary Matt Hancock including the introduction of an Isolation Support Payment for those who cannot work from home while isolating because they’ve tested positive or are asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, prioritised testing and the lifting restrictions on childcare arrangements.

The restrictions in Rochdale (which includes Heywood, Littleborough and Middleton) remain as follows:

  • Do not meet people you do not live with inside a private home or garden, except where you have formed a support bubble (or for other limited exemptions to be specified in law).
  • Do not visit someone else’s home or garden even if they live outside of the affected areas.
  • Do not socialise with people you do not live with in other indoor public venues - such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship or entertainment venues.

The number of cases in Rochdale borough for the week ending 17 September stands at 112 per 100,000 people, up from 35.5 a month earlier on 17 August.

Residents can book tests at testing centres at Rochdale Town Hall, Heywood Civic Centre and Market Place car park in Middleton. You must book an appointment and you must have symptoms. These sites are open 8am-8pm, seven days week.

You must walk, cycle or drive to your test and avoid public transport. Face coverings must also be worn at all times.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.

Tests must be booked, you cannot just turn up on the day. Appointments can be made the evening before your test or on the day of your test. Ring 119 or visit to book your test. If a local site is not offered initially, keep checking.

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