Feeling confused this morning? Yeah, us too. Boris Johnson’s address to the nation last night (Sunday May 10) certainly caused a bit of head scratching from even the viewers staying the most alert. The prime minister was aiming to outline the next steps ahead – or, as he keeps referring to like some sort of digital project manager, the ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown for the UK.
In fact he described this as a ‘first sketch of a roadmap’, explaining how this was ‘not the time simply to end the lockdown’. Johnson said these were modified measures and the UK could expect a ‘change of emphasis’ to the lockdown rules. He also introduced a new ‘covid alert system’ that was hard to follow at home (a heatmap-type graph that comedian Rhys James referred to on Twitter as bearing a remarkable resemblance to the Nando’s heat scale).
So what does all the jargon mean for London? Here’s what we know so far:
1. Lockdown is still on. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has this morning reminded Londoners that lockdown should still be adhered to, despite the somewhat mixed messaging across the weekend about a loosening around lockdown rules. ‘You must still stay at home as much as possible and keep a safe two-metre distance from other people at all times when you are out,’ said the Mayor on social media.
2. You must work from home if you can continue to do so. A return to work is allowed from today (Monday May 11) for those who can’t work from home.
3. You shouldn’t use public transport unless you absolutely cannot avoid it. The prime minister has asked people to use cars, or to walk or cycle to work wherever possible. Sadiq Khan is hoping for a greener London on the other side of lockdown and so his messaging is a little different: ‘You must not use public transport for any unnecessary journeys. If you really have to travel, please avoid rush hour. Please walk or cycle whenever possible.’
4. From Wednesday (May 13), Londoners can take part in unlimited outdoor exercise, rather than one piece of exercise per day. The prime minister also said that from Wednesday, people can ‘sit in the sun in your local park’, and play sports – but only with members of your own household. He added that there would be increased fines for those who break the rules around social distancing while outdoors. So the two-metre rule is still at play.
5. Shops will reopen and some school classes will return on June 1 at the earliest if the rate of infection continues to decrease.
6. ‘At least some of the hospitality industry’ will reopen in July at the earliest, again, if the rate of infection continues to decrease. The prime minister did not shed any light on how this might look, or on whether bars and pubs would be treated the same as restaurants in the reopening.
7. Those entering the country by air will be required to stay in quarantine for 14 days, except passengers from France and the Republic of Ireland.
8. There was no mention of garden centres reopening, as many had anticipated ahead of the announcement.
9. All of the above is conditional on the spread of the virus slowing and will be judged by using that new-fangled covid alert system.
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