Following the Government’s announcement on Saturday, England will be entering a four-week lockdown from Thursday 5th November.
I know that both people and businesses are rightly concerned about what this means. The guidance is as follows:
1. Stay at home except for specific purposes such as going to work (if your workplace remains open), attending a medical appointment, shopping for essential items, or exercising.
2. You cannot meet indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.
3. All non-essential retail, entertainment venues, personal care facilities, and hospitality businesses must close. However, click and collect and takeaway services can continue.
The full guidance can be found here.
This length of lockdown was entirely avoidable. If the Government had followed their own scientific advice from SAGE and Opposition Leader Keir Starmer’s calls for a two-week circuit breaker to coincide with half term, we could have avoided these difficult measures. Sadly, Government delay has seen infection rates, hospital admissions and deaths continue to rise and have the potential to overburden our NHS. The deaths that have resulted from this delay cannot be forgiven or forgotten, but the focus now must be on working collectively to bring down the “R” and reduce Covid 19 infections to save lives.
The extension of the Furlough Scheme is welcome, but this has come too late for many employees who have already been made redundant due to the expectation that the scheme was coming to an end. Therefore, my Labour colleagues and I will be calling on the Government to ensure that jobs and businesses are protected. We need targeted support packages for businesses, flexibility in the Furlough Scheme to ensure that those that did not qualify previously are not excluded now, and more support for the self-employed whose businesses are now having to be put on hold again.
The British people have sacrificed time and time again and the Government must give people the support they need in order to follow the rules and reduce the spread of Covid 19. Please stay safe, follow the law, and follow Public Health guidance to protect each other.