Prime Minister Boris Johnson pauses lockdown easing process

PUBLISHED: 15:24 31 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:24 31 July 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19). Picture: PA Video

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19). Picture: PA Video

Prime minister Boris Johnson has today announced a halt to the easing of lockdown restrictions that were due to take place in the coming weeks.

The further easing of lockdown in England due on August 1 would have allowed small wedding receptions and the reopening of bowling alleys and casinos. But this has now been postponed for at least two weeks due to a rise in cases of coronavirus.

Previously weddings taking place this weekend had been given the green light to host 30 guests – though this has now been revoked.

It also means that close-contact services such as beauty treatments and facial piercing will no longer be permitted.

However, a spokeswoman for number 10 confirmed that tattoo parlours and beauty salons could reopen – but would not allowed to perform these closer contact treatments.

Mr Johnson said: “We had hoped to reopen in England a number of higher risk settings that had remained closed. Today, I am afraid we are postponing these changes for at least a fortnight.

That means that, until 15 August at the earliest casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and remaining close contact services must remain closed. Indoor performances will not resume.

“Pilots of larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres will not take place.

There will also be a further push to make sure more people are wearing face masks.

Coverings are to be mandatory in indoor settings where people are likely to come into contact with people they do not know, such as museums and places of worship, from August 8.

There has been an increase in the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in England, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says.

According to the ONS, between July 20 and 26 there were around 0.78 new Covid-19 infections for every 10,000 people in the community population in England – or 4,200 new cases each day.

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