United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson has laid out a new set of restrictions to help curb the second wave of COVID-19 that is threatening to wash over the country.
Among the measures, Johnson has ordered restaurants and bars to close earlier each night starting September 24 and has abandoned plans to allow live audiences back at sporting events.
There will be tougher enforcement, Johnson said in an address on Tuesday, with higher fines for people failing to wear face coverings where they are required by the rules.
“If we were forced into a new national lockdown, that would threaten not just jobs and livelihoods but the loving human contact on which we all depend,” he said. He had earlier he told Parliament the restrictions would “remain in place for perhaps six months.”
The new measures are a reversal of the government’s attempts to open up the economy after the complete economic shutdown in March of this year which sent the country into its worst recession in over 100 years.
The prime minister also said that these new restrictions are not a return to the full lockdown imposed earlier this year.
“We are acting on the principle that a stitch in time saves nine,” he said.
By imposing restrictions now, the government can “shelter the economy from the far sterner and more costly measures that would inevitably become necessary later on,” Johnson told Parliament.
The measures put in place include:
- Office workers to work from home if possible
- Pubs and restaurants to have only table service and to close at 10 pm
- Shop workers, taxi users, hospitality staff and customers to wear face coverings
- Maximum of 15 people allowed at wedding ceremonies
- Conferences, exhibitions, large sporting events will not reopen for crowds
- Fine for failing to wear mask to be doubled to GBP 200
Johnson appealed to the country to obey the new restrictions, saying that there are “unquestionably difficult months to come.”
The UK risks “many more deaths, many more families losing loved ones before their time” if people fail to do their part, Johnson said. “The tragic reality of having Covid is that your mild cough can be someone else’s death knell.”