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Face coverings will be made compulsory in museums, cinemas, art galleries and places of worship from August 8 as England’s chief medical officer warns the nation has “reached the limit” of what it can do to ease lockdown.
Boris Johnson announced the changes at a press conference on Friday afternoon, which also covered the changes to rules in the north-west, as cases spike.
The PM also confirmed that some of the planned reopening of some venues, including bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos, will now not go ahead for two more weeks.
Wedding receptions with up to 30 people have now also been put on ice, though weddings themselves can still happen.
The PM said: “I know that the steps we are taking will be a real blow to many people, to everyone whose wedding plans have been disrupted or who cannot now celebrate Eid in the way that they would wish.
“And I’m really, really sorry about that, but we cannot simply take the risk.”
However, employees are still being encouraged to return to work from tomorrow, and all currently open venues such as shops, restaurants and pubs will remain open.
The growth rate and R value of coronavirus transmission in the UK have changed slightly in the last week, new figures published by the government show.
Data released on Friday revealed the growth rate is now between minus 4% to minus 1%, compared with a rate of minus 5% to minus 1% per day, last week.
The R value for the UK is between 0.8 to 0.9, a slight change from 0.7 to 0.9.
The figures are published by the Government Office for Science and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).
A growth rate between minus 1% to minus 4% means the number of new infections is shrinking by between 1% to 4% every day, the report said.
It added: “However, we are starting to see early indications that these values may be increasing.
“This is not yet reflected in these estimates because the data used to calculate R and growth rate reflect the situation from a few weeks ago.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.