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England Announces New COVID-19 Restrictions


Most people in England will continue to be severely restricted from socializing and doing business when a national lockdown concludes next week, with bars and restaurants closed in areas where more than 20 million people live.

The government announced details of the three-tier regional measures that will take effect on December 2 on Thursday. Only three remote areas and the islands – totaling a population of 700,000 people – are at the lowest level, where bars and restaurants are almost normally open and members of different households can gather indoors.

More than half of England’s 56 million people, including 8.6 million Londoners, are at the intermediate level, where most shops, restaurants and other entertainment venues can open their doors – with some restrictions – and the public can return in limited numbers to theaters and stadiums.

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Another 23 million people in a huge portion of central and northern England, including cities like Manchester and Birmingham, as well as Kent County in the southeast, will be placed on the top tier, where restaurants and bars can only offer delivery and take-out service, and venues like theaters and stadiums must remain closed. Stores, gyms and hairdressers may open throughout the country.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “tough measures” will be needed until spring, when a combination of vaccines and massive testing is expected to help return to normal.

“If we loosen up now we risk losing control over this virus again, throwing away the hard-earned gains and forcing ourselves to return to a national lockdown in the New Year, with all the damage that would entail,” he told a news conference.

The government imposed a four-week national lockdown on England beginning this month to combat a surge in coronavirus cases, with limitations on travel and the closure of non-essential businesses. The government statistics office says the infection rate appears to have stabilized, but Health Secretary Matt Hancock said “we must be vigilant.”

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Parliament still needs to approve the measures in a vote next week. Johnson faces opposition from some lawmakers from his own Conservative Party, who say the economic damages caused by the measures outweigh the public health benefits.

Tavern and theater operators were among those who warned that they cannot make money under the conditions imposed at level 2, where alcohol can only be served with food and entertainment venues can only operate at half capacity.

“There has to be a real danger that if these restrictions are not lifted very, very soon, there will be a lot of businesses that just won’t reopen,” said Conservative lawmaker Graham Brady, who said he plans to vote against the “authoritarian” measures.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own restrictions.

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The new measures will be put under review on December 16 and suspended for five days for the celebration of Christmas across Britain.





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https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/en-espanol/noticias/story/2020-11-26/inglaterra-anuncia-nuevas-restricciones-por-covid-19

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