Government u-turn on lockdown changes
Lockdown changes – in England – that were due to come into effect on 1 August 2020, have been delayed until at least 15 August. The last-minute announcement by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, followed worries of a rise in COVID cases and means that casinos, bowling alleys and ice skating rinks will remain closed in England for the time being.
The government has also paused pilot schemes to trial opening indoor events such as the gradual reopening of indoor theatres and other live performance venues. The planned pilot trials for large scale sporting events have also been put on hold. The government has said they will resume pilot events if and when it is safe to do so.
The announcement also affects the planned reopening of close contact beauty services which require staff and customers to be face-to-face and in very close proximity. Examples include, facial hair removal services, facial treatments, make-up applications and eyebrow treatments. Wedding ceremonies can still go ahead with up to 30 people, but small wedding receptions are not allowed.
It was also announced that face coverings will be required in more indoor settings such as places of worship, social clubs, community centres, cinemas and museums. This is mandatory in England from 8 August 2020.
The government further announced new restrictions in parts of northern England after a localised spike in virus cases.
The UK government is only responsible for lifting lockdown restrictions in England. This is because health is a devolved matter, accordingly, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are responsible for their own public health policies.