Boris Johnson announces raft of new coronavirus measures lasting six months

Watch: What are the new COVID-19 measures announced by the PM?

  • PM announces new measures and rules to restrict spread of COVID-19 following recent surge in infections

  • Boris Johnson tells office staff to work from home, pubs to close at 10pm and cuts attendance at weddings to 15

  • Says “significantly greater restrictions” will be imposed if new measures don’t work

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Boris Johnson has announced a raft of new measures to restrict the spread of the coronavirus that could apply in England for six months.

“This is the moment when we must act,” Johnson told MPs in the House of Commons as he set out the new rules following a “second wave” of COVID-19 infections.

They include:

  • Encouraging office workers who can work from home to do so, a reversal of the government’s previous messaging. People in industries such as construction and retail, where home working is not possible, should continue to go to work

  • From Thursday, all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate table service only and close at 10pm

  • Staff in retail, all taxi users and all hospitality workers and customers must wear a face mask – except when seated at a table to eat or drink

  • COVID-secure guidelines will become a legal obligation for businesses in the retail, leisure and tourism sectors. Businesses face fines or closures for breaches

  • Wedding ceremonies and receptions reduced from 30 people to 15

  • Attendance at business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events will not go ahead from 1 October, as previously planned

Boris Johnson announcing a raft of new coronavirus measures on Tuesday. (
Boris Johnson announcing a raft of new coronavirus measures on Tuesday. (

Johnson also announced the first penalty for not wearing a face mask or breaking the government’s “rule of six” law – which bans most social gatherings of more than six people – will now double to £200.

“These rules, these measures, will only work if people comply,” Johnson said.

“There is nothing more frustrating, for the vast majority who do comply... than the site of a few brazenly defying the rules. So these rules will be enforced by tighter penalties.”

While saying he doesn’t want a second national lockdown, Johnson nonetheless warned “significantly greater restrictions” will be imposed if the COVID reproduction “R” rate does not fall below 1.

“We will only be able to avoid it if our new measures work and our behaviour changes,” Johnson said.

It follows a surge in COVID-19 infections during September. A further 4,368 daily cases were confirmed on Monday (21 September), compared to 445 on 21 July.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told Johnson his party supported the latest guidance.

He said: “Just as we supported lockdown in March and the more recent local lockdowns, although with fierce criticism of the way the government is handling this pandemic, when restrictions are needed the national interest lies in clear communications and cross-party support.”

However, Starmer said people are worried that “the government doesn’t have a strategy”.

“One day people were encouraged to work in the office, in fact more than encouraged, they were openly challenged by the PM for not doing so, today they’re told the opposite.

“This is a time of national crisis but we need clear leadership.”

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