BUSINESSES expecting to reopen from tomorrow will now have to wait at least another two weeks before welcoming back customers, the Prime Minister has said.
Casinos, ice skating rinks and bowling alleys that have been gearing up to open again from August 1 must remain closed until at least August 15 due to a spike in coronavirus infections.
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The Prime Minister slammed on the brakes on Britain’s recovery plans in a briefing today (July 31).
Indoor performances in theatres, music halls and other venues that were also planning to make a socially distanced comeback from August must also stay shut.
But Boris Johnson confirmed the back to work message from August 1 is still going ahead.
In another huge blow, wedding receptions of up to 30 people will not be allowed to go ahead as planned either, although couples are still officially able to legally tie-the-knot.
Close contact beauty services, such as facials and eyelash extensions, have also been banned for another two weeks.
These also won’t restart again until August 15 at the earliest.
Speaking from Downing Street on July 31, Mr Johnson said: “We should now squeeze the brake pedal in order to keep the virus under control.
“We must keep our focus and we can’t be complacent.”
The Prime Minister has also postponed testing of indoor gigs and conference centres, which are allowed to start again in October.
The government is making it mandatory to wear masks in more places too, including cinemas and places of worship.
Currently, face masks are compulsory in shops, banks and post offices and on public transport.
Police can issue £100 fines for those caught breaking the rules.
The shock move follows a surge of infections in European countries as fears grow Britain is just two to three weeks behind Spain’s alarming spike in cases.
Boris said that new ONS figures showed 4,900 new cases every day – signalling the “first rise since the end of May”.
He said this was an increase of 3,000 new cases everyday on July 14 and 2,000 new cases at the end of June.
One in 1,500 now have the virus, compared to 1 in 1,800 on 15 July.
Ice skating rinks and casinos have been shut down for four months, since the start of lockdown back in March.
Mr Johnson has always stressed that recovery plans would be stalled if there were signs that the number of Covid-19 cases could become unmanageable again.
The delay comes as government support for furloughed workers is also beginning to wound down from August.
It’s not yet clear whether hopes to reopen other firms later on in the year have also been pushed back yet.
In July, it was announced that from mid-November, the government will look at scrapping the one metre social distancing rules.
At the time, Boris said that if all of the rules and regulations are followed properly life could be normal by Christmas, but this now hangs in the balance.
A reopening date for nightclubs, strip clubs and children’s soft play areas still hasn’t been confirmed.
The announcement comes after tighter restrictions were put in place in Greater Manchester, parts of East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire, where people were banned from meeting each other indoors from midnight on July 31.
In the affected areas:
In June, councils were given the power to implement “local lockdowns” in their districts to stop any outbreaks.
Restrictions were place on Leicester by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock on June 29 after a spike in Covid-19 infections.
But from August 3, restaurants, cafes, pubs and hairdressers in the city can get back to business as lockdown measures are eased.