The Prime Minister has announced new national restrictions from Thursday 5th November – ensuring everyone stays at home, to protect the NHS and save lives, full details of the restrictions can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae These restrictions will apply nationally for four weeks up to Wednesday 2 December, and will override the current Local Alert Level restrictions.
COVID-19 case numbers are rising rapidly across the whole of the UK including in Bexley, as well as internationally. That is why the Government is introducing the following restrictions:
- The public must stay at home, and may only leave home for limited reasons, including: education; work or volunteering, if it is impossible for do this from home; exercise and recreation outdoors; medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm; provision of care for a child – including informal childcare – or vulnerable person. There is no exemption for staying away from home on holiday – so people cannot do so in this country or elsewhere - but people can stay away for work where necessary.
- Non-essential shops, pubs, bars, restaurants, leisure and entertainment venues will all be closed – but will be able to provide takeaway. Essential shops will stay open: there is no need for people to stock up.
- Workplaces should stay open where people cannot work from home – for example in the construction or manufacturing sectors.
- Adults living alone will still be able to form support bubbles, and children will still be able to move between homes if their parents are separated.
There will be some differences compared to March:
- These are time-limited measures. On the 2 December, we will seek to ease restrictions, on a local and regional basis, according to the latest data.
- The Government’s priority remains keeping young people in education - so formal and informal childcare, early years settings, schools, colleges and universities will all remain open. Senior clinicians still advise that school is the best place for children to be.
- Provision for non-COVID-19 healthcare needs will keep going. The public should continue to use the NHS, get their scans, turn up for their appointments and pick up their treatments unless their clinicians tell them otherwise.
Over the past eight months of this crisis the Government have helped millions of people to continue to provide for their families but now, as restrictions get tougher, they are taking steps to provide further financial support to protect jobs and businesses. These changes will provide a provide a vital safety net for people across the UK.
- Extending Furlough until March. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – known as the furlough scheme – will be extended until the end of March with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked.
- Providing more support for self-employed people. The Government will increase the support to the self-employed from 40% of trading profits to 80% for November. These grants are calculated over three months, meaning the maximum grant will increase to £5,160.
- Extending Mortgage holiday. Mortgage holiday will be extended to reassure homeowners. Mortgage payment holidays will no longer end today.
- Supporting businesses forced to close. Business premises which are legally forced to close to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month in England.
- Providing additional support for local authorities. £1.1 billion will also be provided to Local Authorities to enable them to support businesses.
Commenting on the new restrictions, James said:
“The announcement of restrictions on all of our lives is hugely unwelcome - but on the basis of the scientific assessment necessary to see that our NHS isn’t overwhelmed in the coming weeks. This is the last thing anyone would have wished - recognising the impact on lives as well as livelihoods. As hard as it is though, further significant intervention is needed if we are to curb the exponential growth in hospitalisations and deaths. An incredibly difficult judgement has had to be made in acting now to safeguard hospital space and see that our NHS can continue to look after patients with serious non-Covid needs as well as people suffering with acute symptoms from the virus.”
“I do not underestimate just how hard these new restrictions are after the sacrifices of the last months, but by acting now we can all make a huge difference to prevent our NHS from being overwhelmed going into winter with the overriding intention to save lives.”