Boris Johnson calls on bosses to get Brits back to work – and says life could be normal by Christmas
BORIS Johnson has today called on bosses to get Brits back to work – and claimed life could be back to normal by Christmas.
The Prime Minister this morning called for the nation to return to “near-normal” from August 1 to help boost Britain’s ailing economy which has been ravaged by the pandemic.
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Boris Johnson today insisted things could be back to normal by Christmas[/caption]
And Mr Johnson said he could scrap social distancing as early as November – saying family and pals could potentially hug again by Christmas.
The PM had planned to announce greater changes but watered them down after the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance publicly dismissed the idea Brits needed to go back to the office.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, the PM outlined his framework for a return to business as usual – and put the onus on employers to make the call.
He said: “Instead of government telling people to work from home, we’re going to give employers more discretion and ask them to make decisions about how their staff work safely.
“That could mean, of course, continuing to work from home which is one way of working safely and which has worked for many employers and employees.
“Whatever employers decide they should consult closely with their employees, and only ask people to return to their place of work if it is safe.”
The PM unveiled a series of other measures in the wide-ranging speech.
- Handing councils powers to shut pubs and cafés without going to Government first through “lightning lockdowns“
- Insisting public transport is safe again as Brits can go back on trains and buses
- Giving the NHS an extra £3billion so hospitals are “battle ready” for winter
- Setting a target of 500,000 tests a day by the end of October
- Putting a time frame on social distancing so the nation can finally have a hug
The PM also insisted public transport could now open up to get people back to work.
He said: “In England from today we are making clear that anybody can use public transport while encouraging people to consider alternative measures of transport where they’re available.”
The announcement came during a sweeping speech where Boris unveiled a series of measures to get Britain working.
Yesterday Sir Patrick told MPs there was “absolutely no reason” to drop working from home.
He said: “Of the various distancing measures, working from home for many companies remains a perfectly good option because it’s easy to do.
“I think a number of companies think it’s actually not detrimental to productivity. And in that situation, there’s absolutely no reason I can see to change it.”
The measures come despite repeated warnings both in public and private from his scientific experts.
Hugs by Christmas
Boris Johnson optimistically announced this morning Brits will be able to hug all their friends and family by Christmas.
Speaking from Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: “More close contact between family and friends where we can.
“It is my strong and sincere hope that we will be able to review the restrictions and allow a return to more normality by November, possibly in time for Christmas.”
However, the PM made clear that this was “all conditional on our ability to defeat the virus”.
He cautiously told Brits eager to hug their family that “we have a plan where we hope for the best and plan for the worst”.
Boris announced the first lockdown measures back on March 23.
Brits were told only to travel if it was essential to do so for work.
On May 10, Mr Johnson announced this was being relaxed and encouraged construction and manufacturing workers to head back to work.
The PM today handed councils powers for “lightning lockdowns” so they can shut pubs and cafés without going to Government first.
The rules will allow town hall bosses to ban weddings and other gatherings at short notice.
Boris explained: “They will be able to close specific premises, shut public outdoor spaces and cancel events.
“These powers will enable local authorities to act more quickly in response to outbreaks where speed is paramount.
“Where justified by the evidence, ministers will be able to close whole sectors or types of premises in an area, introduce local stay-at-home orders, prevent people entering or leaving defined areas, reduce the size of gatherings beyond the national defined rules or restrict transport systems serving local areas.”
Leicester became the first city to go into a local lockdown, and now councils will have the power to swoop as soon as necessary elsewhere.
Party goers and parents alike were also dealt a blow today as the Prime Minister has reiterated that nightclubs and soft play areas must remain closed.
However, casinos, leisure centres and bowling alleys in England will be allowed to reopen in August.
Boris also gave the NHS an extra £3billion so hospitals are “battle ready” for winter and can ensure a second wave is avoided.
The PM also set a target of 500,000 tests a day by the end of October so flare-ups can be dealt with swiftly.
A PR blitz will now encourage Brits to get a virus test and promote walk-in testing sites.
The NHS funding comes with fears growing over the virus running riot over the winter.
Coronavirus thrives in the cold and spreads more easily indoors, with doctors concerned it could surge when flu is circulating.
The extra billions will go towards keeping on the Nightingales and private hospital spaces.
No 10 will also carry out a flurry of exercises to “stress test” their NHS winter plans.
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