In a press conference this evening (31 October), Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced what he described as ‘tough new national measures’ for England that will effectively see the country plunged back into lockdown from Thursday (5 November).
Under the restrictions, all pubs and restaurants must close, although takeaways and deliveries will be permitted.
Non-essential shops will also be required to close, and travel within the UK will be discouraged.
Unlike the original lockdown in March, the measures will only apply to England, with the devolved government’s of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland continuing to impose their own restrictions.
The lockdown is expected to be in place for four weeks until 2 December, after which the country will revert back to the tiered Coronavirus alert system currently in place across England.
Reacting to the news when it originally broke earlier today, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls tweeted: “This will be devastating for hospitality. Note this is for a month ‘initially’ and that afterwards it will be back into existing tiers - long and harmful pain.
“Imperative that we have announcement of additional financial support.”
During his speech, the Prime Minister also confirmed that the furlough or Job Retention Scheme (JRS) would be extended for the duration of the new lockdown.
However, it is not known if any further support will be made available.
Today had originally marked the final day of the JRS, which was introduced at the beginning of the first lockdown in March and saw the state pay 80% of wages for furloughed workers up to £2,500 per month.
It was due to be replaced by the Job Support Scheme (JSS), which would see the Government cover 61.67% of wages, but only providing the employee was able to work at least 20% of their allocated hours.