The Prime Minister Hopes For ‘Normality’ By Christmas As He Announces Changes To Lockdown Measures

By Rachael Grealish

Get ready because soon you’ll be able to get your brows under control before you head to see a show, as the Prime Minister has announced changes to lockdown measures – which include hopes to return to ‘normality’ for Christmas.

Set to come into effect from August 1, people in England will be able to receive close contact beauty treatments and see indoor live performances.

The announcement came when Boris Johnson chaired a press conference in Downing Street today, Friday July 17, to discuss the next phase of the COVID-19 recovery road map.

He said: “From 1 August, we will reopen most remaining leisure settings, namely bowling, skating rinks, casinos, and we will enable close contacts services – beauticians to resume. Nightclubs and soft-play areas sadly need to remain closed.”

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

On top of this the PM said performances with live audiences may go ahead with the idea of bringing back audiences in larger numbers from October. 

“We will restart indoor performances to a live audience, subject to the success of pilots. And we will also pilot larger gatherings in venues like sports stadiums with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn,” he continued, “We will also allow wedding receptions for up to 30 people. All of these measures from 1 August should be done in a Covid-secure way.

“From October, we intend to bring back audiences in stadia, and to allow conferences and other business events to recommence.”

The Prime Minister’s message was clearly one of positivity for the future as he talked of returning to ‘normality’ by Christmas.

Johnson said: “Throughout this period we will look to allow more close contact between friends and family, where we can. 

“It is my strong and sincere hope that we will be able to review the outstanding restrictions and allow a more significant return to normality from November at the earliest possibly in time for Christmas.”

However, with as positive as the PM seems about normality at Christmas time, he also discussed the £3 billion investment the UK government is putting into the Nightingale hospitals, in case of any further outbreaks of coronavirus in winter – so a slightly less positive look in the winter months. 

“I can confirm that we’re providing an additional £3bn of funding for the NHS in England to get ready for winter,” he added, “This will allow the NHS to continue to use the extra hospital capacity acquired from the independent sector, and also to maintain the Nightingale hospitals, until the end of March.”

Along with his positive outlook on the future of the country Johnson said from Saturday councils will be able to close specific premises, shut public outdoor spaces and cancel events – but the central government will also be given the power to intervene in areas.

This means councils will have the power to enforce a ‘local lockdown’ if needed.

This news comes after cases of COVID-19 rose again in Carlisle, it was announced this week – however no news of a local lockdown has been mentioned by Cumbria County Council.

People in England are being encouraged to go back to work from August and use public transport as and when needed. 

As for childcare for those returning to work, Johnson said using grandparents without applying the 1 metre plus rule is ‘ok’ as they ‘would count as part of the bubble’.

He said: “I think your children’s grandparents would count as part of the bubble that you’re forming as it were within with two households indoors. So I think you’d be OK and you’d continue to be OK with those childcare arrangements within your household.”

The government will be releasing details of the new roadmap early next week, however it has already come under criticism for clarity and confidence.

Speaking to the BBC the leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, said: “The key now is confidence… can we have confidence that the government’s scientific advisers support these measures?”

Reflecting on the statement made by Sir Patrick Valance, yesterday, after he expressed the need for caution over people returning to work.