Pubs and restaurants in the UK could stay closed for another four months, it has been reported.
The venues are currently closed across the nation as part of the current coronavirus lockdown, which began on January 6.
Now, the government is reportedly planning to extend the shutdown until the end of March and keep pubs and restaurants closed until the beginning of May.
According to the Sunday Times, Downing Street is looking to March 23 as a target for easing some restrictions, with more relaxations to follow in the weeks beyond that. “The May Day bank holiday is more likely the moment you see pubs reopening,” a source said.
Another official said advisers had warned that for restrictions to end, the government couldn’t just vaccinate those who are more vulnerable and then relax measures. “They are saying that younger and lower-risk people shouldn’t leave home until they have been vaccinated,” they said, which is expected to take until at least the autumn to happen.
Some experts have warned that the current lockdown restrictions are not tough enough and there is speculation that the government could introduce stricter measures as coronavirus cases in England continue to rise.
“The most important thing is that people stay at home and follow the rules that we have got,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said during an appearance on The Andrew Marr Show yesterday (January 10), adding that he didn’t want to “speculate” on what the government might do next. “People need to not just follow the letter of the rules but follow the spirit as well and play their part.”
The latest figures in the UK saw 54,940 people testing positive for the virus yesterday (January 10) and 563 deaths. According to government stats up to January 3, 1,296,432 people have been given the first dose of the vaccine, with 21,313 also receiving the second dose.
Last week (January 5), Isle Of Wight boss John Giddings suggested music industry workers could help ramp up the rate of vaccination. Speaking to NME, he said: “We’re in the music business: we don’t work nine to five, it’s 25 hours a day.
“All these people know what they’re doing, they’ve worked with large crowds in venues hundreds of times before. With all due respect to the British Army, they don’t know the inside track on The O2 or Hammersmith Apollo. I don’t want to vaccinate people, I just want to set it up for people to be vaccinated easily over a 24-hour period. Why can’t we do that?”