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Sports and leisure facilities to close under new lockdown

Sports and leisure facilities to close under new lockdown

The prime minister has announced tougher national restrictions that will be implemented in England from Thursday, with sports and leisure businesses having to close once again.

Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, including bowling alleys, gyms and leisure centres, will have to close, along with sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses, driving ranges and dance studios.

Entertainment venues will also have to shut their doors including cinemas, casinos, zoos, museums and galleries.

The forthcoming lockdown, which was announced in a press conference on Saturday night, will mean that everyone must stay at home except for a limited set of reasons. These include for education, for work, if you cannot work from home; for exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household, support bubble or on your own with one person from another household; for all medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm; to shop for food and essentials; and to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer. A full set of exemptions will be set out in law.

Johnson said that no one wants to impose these kinds of measures, but no responsible prime minister could ignore the evidence presented. He also said that, while Christmas will inevitably be different this year, tough action now could mean families may be able to be together. Belgium, France, Germany and other countries have already put in place national restrictions following earlier local measures.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, known as the furlough scheme, will remain open until December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. The cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced compared to the current scheme, which ended on Saturday.