Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined a number of new coronavirus rules in a bid to curb the number of cases across the UK.
The announcement comes as the PM warned that daily deaths from Covid-19 would increase unless action is taken.
The Prime Minister told MPs: “In the last fortnight daily hospital admissions in England have more than doubled.
“Tens of thousands of daily infections in October would, as night follows day, lead to hundreds of daily deaths in November and those numbers would continue to grow unless we act.”
Here’s everything you need to know about the new coronavirus rules across England.
Work from home if you can do so
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told MPs that the UK has reached a “perilous turning point” in its fight against coronavirus, as he urged office workers who can work from home to do so.
He told MPs: “First, we are once again asking office workers who can work from home to do so.
What about construction and retail jobs?
The PM added: “In key public services and in all professions where home working is not possible, such as construction or retail, people should continue to attend their workplaces.”
New face mask rules – Who now needs to wear one?
Boris Johnson said people working in retail, those travelling in taxis, and staff and customers in indoor hospitality except while seated at a table to eat or drink would have to wear face coverings.
10pm curfew to start from Thursday for bars, pubs and restaurants across England
He added: “Second, from Thursday (September 24), all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate a table service only, except for takeaways. Together with all hospitality venues, they must close at 10pm.
“And to help the police enforce this rule that means, alas, closing not just calling for last orders, because simplicity is paramount.
“In retail, leisure and tourism and other sectors, our Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations.”
Update on sporting events
The exemptions to the rule of six will be reduced, banning indoor team sport – such as indoor five-a-side football matches.
The planned return of spectators to sports venues will now not go ahead from October 1.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Johnson said: “We will also have to extend the rule of six to all adult indoor team sports.
“We have to acknowledge that the spread of the virus is now affecting our ability to reopen business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events, so we will not be able to do this from 1st October and I recognise the implications for our sports clubs which are the life and soul of our communities.”
New fines for those who don’t wear a face mask
The PM added: “These rules will be enforced by tighter penalties… the penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to £200 for a first offence.”
Schools, colleges, universities and places of worship WILL remain open
Boris Johnson also told MPs: “No British Government would wish to stifle our freedoms in the ways that we have found necessary this year.
“Yet even now we can draw some comfort from the fact schools, universities, and places of worship are staying open, shops can serve their customers, construction workers can go to building sites and the vast majority of the UK economy can continue moving forwards.”
‘There WON’T be another national lockdown’ – Boris Johnson confirms
Boris Johnson said the Government will introduce new restrictions in England “carefully judged to achieve the maximum reduction in the R number with the minimum damage to lives and livelihoods”.
He told MPs: “I want to stress that this is by no means a return to the full lockdown of March. We’re not issuing a general instruction to stay at home.
“We will ensure that schools, colleges, universities stay open because nothing is more important than the education, health and well-being of our young people.
“We will ensure businesses can stay open in a Covid-compliant way. However we must take action to suppress the disease.”
Maximum of 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies
Wedding ceremonies and receptions across England will be capped at 15 people from Monday, September 28.
What about funerals?
Up to 30 people can still attend a funeral in England for now.
What about those shielding?
To those shielding, Mr Johnson added: “Following advice from our senior clinicians, our guidance continues to be that you do not need to shield, except in local lockdown areas, and we will keep this under constant review.”
How long will the new coronavirus rules remain in place?
Boris Johnson said that the restrictions announced could remain in place for “perhaps six months”.
He told the Commons: “I fervently want to avoid taking this step, as do the devolved administrations but we will only be able to avoid it if our new measures work and our behaviour changes.
“We will spare no effort in developing vaccines, treatments, new forms of mass-testing but unless we palpably make progress we should assume that the restrictions that I have announced will remain in place for perhaps six months.
“For the time being, this virus is a fact of our lives and I must tell the House and the country that our fight against it will continue.”
What changes have been announced for MPs?
Boris Johnson told MPs that they will be able to question the Government’s scientific advisers more regularly.
He said: “We are taking decisive and appropriate steps to balance saving lives with protecting jobs and livelihoods.
“I know all of this will have profound consequences for our constituents so the Government will give the House every opportunity to scrutinise our decisions in addition to regular statements and debates, honourable members will be able to question the Government’s scientific advisers more regularly.”
What has the reaction been to Boris’ announcement?
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said his party supported the Government’s lates guidance, but said while they were “necessary” they were not “inevitable”.
He said: “Just as we supported lockdown in March and the more recent local lockdowns, although with fierce criticism of the way the Government is handling this pandemic, when restrictions are needed the national interest lies in clear communications and cross-party support.”
Sir Keir said families were worried that “the Government doesn’t have a strategy”.
He added: “One day people were encouraged to work in the office, in fact more than encouraged they were openly challenged by the Prime Minister for not doing so, today they’re told the opposite.
“This is a time of national crisis but we need clear leadership.”