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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business briefing – 2 November 2020

Stay at home from Thursday, Prime Minister announces in new lockdown

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a new four week lockdown across England, starting from Thursday.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister announced that from Thursday, November 5th, people in England will only be allowed to leave their homes for specific reasons, including education, work, food shopping and outdoor exercise. The lockdown will end on 2 December, when the country will return to the tiered system based on the latest data.

As Boris was speaking, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Twitter that the current Furlough scheme which covers 80% of employee’s pay, will be extended for a further month. The Chancellor is due to update Parliament on measures to support jobs and businesses on Thursday.

The Prime Minister told the Downing Street conference that while he had hoped the local and regional approach would prove effective, he had to be ‘humbled in the face of nature’ as the scientific evidence showed that the NHS was in danger of being overwhelmed.

“Now is the time to take action because there is no alternative,” the Prime Minister said. ” I’m afraid from Thursday the basic message is the same: stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

  • Different households will not be able to mix, but support bubbles and childcare bubbles will remain and children can still move between homes if their parents are separated.
  • Pubs, bars and restaurants will close – although will still be able to offer takeaway services – and non-essential shops will also be shut.
  • Schools, colleges and universities will remain open.
  • Workspaces should stay open where people cannot work from home eg: construction.

“I am under no illusion about how difficult this will be for businesses already enduring hardship this year,” said the Prime Minister.

Read the Prime Minister’s statement in full here.