Boris Johnson has said the UK must “squeeze the brake pedal” on coronavirus lockdown easing as he postponed the lifting of some restrictions for at least two weeks.
The planned reopening of close contact social spaces such as casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and other leisure centres will not happen until August 15 at the earliest.
Likewise, indoor performances with live audiences, trials of larger gatherings in sports stadiums and wedding receptions of up to 30 people will not be able to take place until the middle of the month.
The move is in reaction to data from the Office for National Statistics that said there were around 4,200 new cases per day between July 20 and 26 in the community population in England.
This is up from an estimated 2,800 new cases a day in the previous week.
The Prime Minister said he understood that the latest announcement would be a “real blow” to people who had wedding plans or those who can no longer celebrate Eid in the ways they would wish.
“I’m really, really sorry about that, but we simply cannot take the risk. We will of course study the data carefully and move forward with our intention to open up as soon as we possibly can.”
However, the guidance to allow employers more discretion over whether staff should work from home will go ahead as planned and the national pause on shielding remains unchanged.
Face coverings will now be mandatory in museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship, with a greater police presence to ensure compliance.
The announcement coincides with the tightening of restrictions in parts of northern England, where separate households are no longer permitted to meet in houses and gardens. National rules on social contact remain the same.
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