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Covid-19 Recovery Brief: Thursday, July 9

Covid-19 Recovery Brief: Thursday, July 9

Each day, our Public Policy team will be reporting on the latest news in the evolving situation. To view the previous day’s summary, please click here.

UK Government announces further lockdown easements with gyms and sports facilities to be allowed to reopen on July 25

  • The Culture Secretary announced today further easements to the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
    • From July 25, indoor gyms, pools and leisure centres can reopen. Leisure centres and gyms will have to use timed entry to facilities to limit how many people can use facilities at one time.
    • Outdoor theatres, opera, and music venues can reopen from July 11 with audiences allowed to attend under social distancing. Outdoor pools will also open on that date.
    • The Government also announced that pilots are taking place of indoor performances with socially distanced audiences and they will help work out the best way to get them up and running
    • Recreational team sports are also allowed to resume from this weekend. However each sport will need to submit plans & guidance before they will be approved to restart.
    • Beauticians, tattooists and nail bars will also reopen from Monday 13 July. However, there will be some restrictions on particularly high-risk services.

Scottish First Minister has announced Scotland has entered Phase 3 of its COVID-19 lockdown

  • From Friday 10 July, people in Scotland will be allowed to meet up in extended groups outdoors, and with two other households indoors.
  • From 15 July indoor restaurants, cafes and pubs will be able to reopen. Outdoor and indoor hospitality venues will be granted an exemption from the 2m rule but that is dependent on the implementation of mitigating measures.
  • From Monday 13 July, non-essential shops inside shopping centres can open, meaning the vast majority of retail can reopen.
  • All holiday accommodation including hotels can reopen from 15 July as long as the guidance is followed.
  • Museums, galleries other visitor-attractions and cinemas can also open on the 15 July although physical distancing must be followed and tickets must be secured in advance.

Other UK news

  • The NHS has announced plans for people in “high-contact” professions to be able to get tested for COVID-19, even if they don’t have symptoms. Employers including Addison Lee, Boots, BT are taking part in the scheme. Local authorities in Bradford, Newham, Brent and Oldham, will also offer the tests to those identified as vulnerable to the virus.
  • Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi has confirmed that Leicester, the first city in the UK to be put in local lockdown, will not receive any special financial support from the Government. Businesses in Leicester have called for extra help after the Government’s localised lockdown which came in force on 30 June.
  • Letters have shown that the Permanent Secretary of the HMRC Jim Harra wrote to the Chancellor expressing concerns about the Government’s job retention schemes. The Chancellor rejected his concerns saying action was needed to save jobs.
  • The Institute of Fiscal Studies think tank has warned that tax rises are “inevitable” as a result of the Government’s COVID-19 financial support package. The Chancellor has refused to rule out future tax rises.
  • The Office for National Statistics has announced that it estimates that between 22 June – 5 July an average of 0.03% of people not in care homes, hospitals or other institutional settings in England would test positive for COVID-19. This equates to an average of 14,000 people in England.
  • John Lewis and Boots have become the latest high street retailers to announce job losses. The firms have announced plans to cut 5,300 jobs and shut shops.
  • The Welsh Government have confirmed that all state schools in Wales will reopen to all pupils in September with no requirement for social distancing amongst students, although teachers will  still be required to keep 2m apart.
  • The Foreign Office has warned against all cruise ship travel, even though many companies in the UK and abroad were hoping to put together programmes for the latter part of 2020.

World news

  • The World Health Organisation has announced a panel to review the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The review panel, which will be called the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response will look at the WHO’s response and the response of individual countries.
  • The Hospital at the heart of the Italian COVID-19 outbreak has confirmed that it no longer has any COVID-19 patients. The head of the ER Department at Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Lombardy declared “Victory has come”.
  • By the end of June, the US jobless rate fell to 11.1% from a peak of 14.7% in April. Americans filed 1.3m new unemployment claims last week down from 1.4m claims filed the week earlier. However nearly 18 million American workers are still receiving jobless benefits,
  • In Belgrade gatherings of more than 10 people have been banned and businesses in closed spaces, such as cafes, shopping malls or shops, have been ordered to operate shorter hours.  In recent days there have been clashes on the streets of Belgrade between police and people protesting against a second lockdown.
  • Catalonia has made face masks mandatory in public for all those aged over five after a increase in cases in the region.

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