"they must bring immunity from lockdowns and restrictions too"
After Boris Johnson announced the new strain for Covid-19 is far more dangerous than the previous, it’s been reported that the British government has extended lockdown laws locally.
The extended laws which are now until July 17 2021, give local authorities the power to close shops, pubs, restaurants and public spaces, according to The Telegraph.
Despite the government stating that it will review lockdown measures in the middle of February 2021, this move will add to the pressures of how life has been disrupted by the pandemic.
Even with the hope that the vaccination programme will reach its target numbers, this extension to the laws will mean the country will be under the control at local levels.
With the third national lockdown in progress since January 5, 2021, when talking about the uncertainty, PM Boris Johnson did admit in a recent speech saying:
“it’s too early to say when we’ll be able to lift some of the restrictions”.
According to the interim finding in the eighth report of REACT, one of the largest studies conducted for Covid-19 infections in England published by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI, infection rates soared.
Between January 6 to 15, 2021, London reported the highest with 1 in 36 infected, over twice the number reported in the seventh REACT report in early December 2020.
Also, in the West Midlands, East of England and South East, infections doubled compared to December 2020.
This change to give local councils the lockdown powers is an extension to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.3) Regulations 2020.
This law was originally introduced on July 18, 2020, in England.
It gives a council authority to prevent the spread of Covid-19 by closing or limiting access to premises or outdoor spaces. As well as stopping any kinds of events taking place.
The enforcement of the requirements under the regulation can be the responsibility of a local authority designated officer, including a police community support officer(PCSO) or a constable.
Fixed penalty notices can be given to any person committing an offence under the regulations.
The chairman of the Coronavirus Recovery Group of Tory MPs, Mark Harper, who is against restrictions which are not necessary, told The Telegraph:
“The extension of councils’ Covid powers until July will be of great concern to those worried about their jobs and businesses.
“Given the limited time allowed for debate this change in the law was little noticed.
“Once the top four risk groups have been vaccinated and fully protected by March 8, assuming the Government hits the February 15 deadline, the Government must start easing the restrictions.
“Vaccinations will, of course, bring immunity from Covid, but they must bring immunity from lockdowns and restrictions too.”
If the rise in Covid-19 does not get controlled by the vaccinations, this renewed law will impact businesses hugely if local councils execute their powers in 2021.
With British Asians from the South Asian communities contributing tremendously to the hospitality sector in the form of restaurants, pubs and eateries, this could be another blow for small businesses at a local level.
Charanpreet Singh, an owner of a catering business says:
“It is difficult to have another year like 2020 for our business. If 2021, starts to turn out in the same way with local lockdowns from councils. It is likely, we will not survive.”
In addition, events such as Asian weddings could be affected, since July is wedding season.
Especially, where families and guests need to travel to different towns or cities who may have different regulations where the bride resides compared to those of the groom.
Tanvir Paul, who was looking to get married in 2020, says:
“Postponing my wedding in 2020 had a massive impact on us all. The families were all unhappy about how things turned out for us.
“My fiance’s family will be travelling from the north of England. So, if local lockdown rules are different, how are we supposed to get married?”