15.50 – MPs to ‘consider public health regulations’
MPs will discuss coronavirus measures in a recalled House of Commons on Wednesday 6 January.
The Speaker of the House of Commons has granted a request from the Government to recall the House at 11.30am on Wednesday 6 January 2021. The Prime Minster will make a statement providing a COVID-19 update and MPs will consider related public health regulations.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will address the public later and outline further coronavirus measures for England at 8pm.
He is expected to address growing calls for a national lockdown and school closures.
14.23 – Sturgeon orders Scots to stay at home
A stay at home order has been outlined by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, with Scots facing a new lockdown for the entirety of January.
Sturgeon said: “It is no exaggeration to say that I am more concerned about the situation we face now than I have been at any time since March last year.”
Most pupils will not return to school this month.
13.27 – ‘No question’ tougher measures needed, Prime Minister says
Boris Johnson has told reporters further measures will be announced shortly amid growing coronavirus rates.
He said: “If you look at the numbers there’s no question we will have to take tougher measures and we will be announcing those in due course.”
11.54 – ‘Pubs need urgent financial support now’
British Institute of Innkeeping CEO Steve Alton has added to the calls for additional financial support for the sector.
He said: “For the vast majority of our pubs in tier three 3 and four, they are already experiencing the financial impact of a full lockdown, whilst those in Tier 2 have such a decreased footfall in their venues, they continue to be loss making. Whatever decision is made by Government for the health of the nation going forward, these pubs need urgent financial support now.
“Grants in the main, are insufficient for even covering basic running costs including any contribution to the furlough scheme, and many are experiencing huge difficulties in even accessing the support they are entitled to. Local Authorities continue to be very slow in processing and paying out grants.
“Where our pubs are forcibly closed, there must be adequate support from Government to allow them to weather this storm through to the spring. Without it, they will fail, leaving hundreds of thousands unemployed and once viable businesses collapsed. With support, we can and will at the heart of the economic recovery.
“We have seen just how important pubs are to the nation, and once again, they have stepped up to offer their venues as vaccination centres to protect their local communities. We will continue to fight for the financial support needed.”
11.49 – What are the restrictions across England?
Here is what restrictions look like mapped out across England, at the moment.
Pubs are closed under tier three and four measures.
11.22 – Sector needs ‘immediate assurances of support’
The pub sector needs clarity and financial support from the Government, the head of a hospitality trade body has reiterated.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The crucial thing is that we get some confirmation of what is in store, either way, and are given immediate assurances of support, so that businesses can plan for survival.
“If a national lockdown is needed, we need as much time as can conceivably be given and another package of grants to keep businesses alive, alongside an extension of the VAT cut and business rates holiday, which are already urgently needed with or without tighter restrictions.”
10.42 – Operators offer sites for vaccine push
Several pub operators have offered to turn their sites into coronavirus vaccination hubs.
Analysis of NHS England data by the Sunday Times found that 13,000,000 of England’s 56,000,000 population face a postcode lottery and some 118 constituencies have been left without hubs.
BrewDog co-founder James Watt appealed to health secretary Matt Hancock and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Twitter.
Monday 4 January, 10.03 – Tighter lockdown rules on the horizon
It is expected that tier three areas will soon be moved into tier four, meaning the closure of non-essential retail.
Health secretary Hancock was asked by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if the Government would act quickly to curb rising infection rates.
He said: “We look at the data on a daily basis, and we can see at the moment there are significant rises, especially in the areas that are still in tier three. But I also come back to this broader point, that it’s on all of us. The thing that stops the spread of the disease is people not coming into contact with other people. That is the sad truth of it.”
Hancock said: “We have moved incredibly fast to take action when necessary, including on Boxing Day, so we don’t shy away from decisions, difficult as they are. “We have shown that we’re prepared to move incredibly quickly, within 24 hours if we think that is necessary. And we keep these things under review all the time.”
What’s more, First Minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon is expected to announce additional restrictions for the country this afternoon.
Vital that additional business support is brought in alongside strengthened tiers to stave off business collapse and job losses. At the end of last year, just 1 in 5 hospitality businesses had sufficient cash to survive beyond Feb https://t.co/EaXX73XDRU
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