The UK succumbs to a second national lockdown
Despite the UK government’s best attempts to control the spread of the virus through its regional COVID-19-tiered system, this system has been scrapped in favour of a second national lockdown. This follows from a surge of second national lockdowns occurring across the globe, including Israel, France, and Germany. This will take place from Thursday 5th November 2020 and is scheduled to last until 2nd December, albeit there is a chance that this could be extended.
Like the other countries holding another lockdown, the conditions of this lockdown are the following:
- The closure of all non-essential business. This means pubs, bars and restaurants will be closed although they can continue operating by providing takeaway services only. This will also include the closure of gymnasiums, beauty and hair salons and other leisure and recreational venues such as theatres and cinemas
- Schools, colleges, and universities will remain open. This will also include outdoor playgrounds and day-care centres
- Non-essential travel is discouraged. Individuals that must travel abroad for reasons such as essential work purposes must abide by the quarantine rules in place upon their return to the UK.
The UK population can only leave their homes for essential reasons, such as work, education, shopping for food, health reasons, caring for the vulnerable, exercise and recreation outdoors either with their own or maximum one member from one other household.
To aid UK businesses during these difficult times, the UK government has also extended certain COVID-19 financial measures to keep the economy afloat and reduce the rate of employment, including:
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), known as the ‘furlough scheme’. This will be extended until December 2020, paying 80% of employees’ salaries.
- Deadlines for applications to loan schemes backed by the UK government, including an extension to the Future Fund until 31st January 2021.
- Monetary support from the government for self-employed individuals. Self-employed individuals can claim for financial aid from the UK government that will account for 80% of trading profits
With the Labour Party urging the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, to come up with a financial support plan for the next six months, needless to say this is a demoralising and frustrating moment and even month for the UK. The imposition of even tougher restrictions on the UK may not even last until 2nd December, but beyond this date and potentially into the new year: a horrifying prospect for us all.
Although schools and education centres remain open during this lockdown, similarly in line with the French lockdown measures, who is to say that this measure may not change? Considering that this means education will remain undisrupted, pupils have a lesser risk of falling behind and there is a huge benefit for the well-being of children, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) seem to suggest that infection rates are rising rapidly, particularly in secondary schools. With this and with schools having had to adapt to the last lockdown by implementing provisions online so that teaching and classroom practices could continue whilst being at home, who is to say that this may not happen next?
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