Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that London and other parts of the UK will face tougher "high alert" COVID-19 measures from Friday midnight.

There will now be a ban on households mixing indoors, including in pubs and restaurants, after 19,724 more cases and 137 deaths in the UK were announced on Wednesday. More than half of England's population will now be living under high or very high alert restrictions, with Hancock saying that "things will get worse before they get better."

London's hospitality sector is set to be seriously affected by the news, with the capital's 3,640 pubs and 7,556 restaurants not eligible for government support.

Labour mayor Sadiq Khan told London's City Hall there was "simply no other option" to the new restrictions. "Nobody wants to see more restrictions," he said, "but this is deemed to be necessary in order to protect Londoners."

Other areas moving into high alert restrictions this weekend are: Essex, York, Elmbridge (Surrey), Barrow in Furness (Cumbria), North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield, and Erewash (Derbyshire).

As per the GOV.UK website, Tier 2 restrictions include:

  • All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a Covid-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am.
  • Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open.
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees. 
  • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed.
  • The “Rule of Six” will continue to apply outdoors and in private gardens.
  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

No date has been given as to when this will cease.

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