Despite the easing of lockdown restrictions, the government have announced that many people in the north of England will be put under new restrictions.
These will ban different households from meeting at each others homes and gardens, and will also mean that people from two different households will not be able to meet each other at public venues. For example, they will not be able to sit together at a pub or restaurant.
The ban resulted from a spike in COVID-19 cases in Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and part of West Yorkshire. It has been reported that the rise in cases has been due to people visiting friends and family at home.
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, announced:
Most of the transmission is happening between households visiting each other, and people visiting relatives and friends.
The government released in their statement on the 30th July that lockdown procedures would be altered for a number of areas in the north of England. Announced the night before Eid celebrations began in earnest, the move was likened by many to ‘cancelling Christmas’. The chair of the Muslim Council of Britain criticised the government’s communication, saying “The UK government has failed to provide clarity on the shockingly short notice and the reasoning behind the new rules that British Muslims deserve – any such clarification would be most welcome.”
Mr Hancock defended the decision, saying that although “[the government]took the decision with a heavy heart”, the central government and its local counterparts had recognised that action was required.
The news comes only weeks after the government began to reduce restrictions put in place during lockdown. However, as seen in Leicester, it will not be plain sailing for things to return to normalcy, with the chance of a second, and much larger, spike still looming.