“Significant return to normality” by Christmas says PM

On Friday morning, Boris Johnson announced some changes to the plan for easing the restrictions of lockdown. These changes aim for a "significant return to normality" by Christmas, though the plan still remains conditional on how well the country’s figures do with the current unlocking.

The public can immediately use public transport for any travel, though the 1m rule still remains, as well as face masks on buses and trains. An aim of 50,000 tests a day has been announced in order to keep as many people unlocked as possible. From the 1st August, companies can bring people back to work if it is safe, though they get more discretion in the matter. Additionally, bowling alleys, skating rinks, casinos and all other close contact services can reopen. Live indoor theatre and concert performances can also go ahead, hopefully boosting the arts industry. Wedding receptions can now host up to 30 people.

From October, stadiums can start to reopen for live audiences. It was also announced that £3 billion of additional funding has been allocated for the NHS in case of a second wave, as scientists have said that the UK could see 120,000 new deaths if no mitigations are put in place for the possible second wave.

One of the biggest announcements was that local authorities have been given more powers to introduce local lockdowns without the government needing to be involved. This is in the belief that local lockdowns can be introduced quickly to prevent rapid spikes in case numbers. Local authorities can now close premises, cancel events and close off outdoor public spaces such as parks and beaches.

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