England to re-enter lockdown

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Date: 31 October 2020

A closed sign in shop window

Prime minister, Boris Johnson, announced that England will go back into lockdown from 5 November.

Following similar action by the governments of France, Belgium and Germany, England will enter a four-week lockdown following an increase in the numbers of confirmed cases, hospital admissions and deaths. The month-long lockdown will see all non-essential shops and hospitality businesses close until 2 December. Pubs, bars, and restaurants will also close except for takeaways.

People have been asked to 'stay at home' where possible. Those who can work from home, should do so. You can leave for essential shopping, medical appointments, to escape harm or for exercise.

In recognition of the impact this will have on many businesses, the prime minister announced that the furlough scheme, that was due to finish at midnight on 31 October, will be extended until December. This means that employees that are furloughed will still receive 80% of their pay.

Responding to the announcement, BCC Director General Adam Marshall said "There's no getting around the fact that these new restrictions will be a devastating blow to business communities who have done everything in their power to adapt and operate safely.

"Business and market confidence have been hit hard by the unclear, stop-start approach taken by governments across the UK over the past eight months, with little end in sight. Many firms are in a much weaker position now than at the start of the pandemic, making it far more challenging to survive extended closures or demand restrictions.

"The temporary extension of the furlough scheme will bring short-term relief to many firms, and responds to Chambers' call for business support to be commensurate with the scale of the restrictions imposed. While there is no substitute for a functioning economy, the full financial support package for businesses facing hardship, whether through loss of demand or closure, must immediately be clarified and communicated. Sustained help must be available to employers, to the self-employed and to the many businesses and individuals that have not been able to access any of the government's schemes to date."

Unlike the previous lockdown, schools, colleges and universities will remain open. The requirement for 'vulnerable' groups to shield will also not be re-introduced.

Written by Fiona Prior.

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