England’s streets lie almost deserted amid Covid-19 lockdown

Defiant Britons ignored Boris Johnson’s plea to ‘stay at home this weekend’ as vast crowds flocked to the country’s beauty spots and Saturday food shoppers shunned wearing face masks in supermarkets.

The Prime Minister yesterday released a video calling on the public to ‘think twice’ before leaving the house as he moved to cool rising optimism that the coronavirus outbreak is starting to ease and the vaccination drive is making good progress.

The PM urged everyone to behave as if they have the virus, warning that asymptomatic ‘silent spreaders’ are unwittingly fuelling the crisis and the next person infected ‘could be you’.

But his warning appears to have done little to put off revellers who flocked to rural spots across the country to soak up the winter sunshine.

London’s Victoria Park was jammed with weekend walkers left with few options but to venture to the great outdoors as England’s nation-wide lockdown forces all non-essential shops to close.

Bournemouth’s sea front was jam-packed with people exercising today – while police were seen speaking to revellers relaxing on outdoor benches.  

And, as cases continue soar well above what was seen in the first wave, the Prime Minister on Friday urged shoppers to only touch what they plan on buying in supermarkets as Covid – including the highly-contagious new mutant strain – can spread via products. 

During the first shutdown, supermarkets installed bouncers at store entrances to challenge rule-breakers and created in-store one-way systems to help people socially distance. 

But security guards began to vanish as the threat posed by Covid-19 waned during the summer, leading to an increasingly ‘lax’ attitude from shoppers who no longer cover their faces. 

In Slough, shoppers were seen leaving Poundland without any face coverings – despite social-distancing rules saying they must be worn in stores. 

In other coronavirus news:  

  •  Both Brazilian Covid variants are ‘likely’ already in the UK, expert warns, as aviation bosses warn industry ‘urgently’ needs help to survive;
  • PM suspends ALL travel corridors from 4am Monday and everyone needs negative Covid test for entry;
  • Even Whitty and Vallance sound half-way cheery as Boris says mass compliance with third lockdown has brought COVID outbreak under control;
  • Chancellor WON’T bring in a one-off levy to cover the £280billion spent fighting coronavirus;
  • More than 300,000 Covid jabs are delivered in one day as Government announces nearly one in 20 Britons have now had a vaccine  
Bournemouth's sea front was jam-packed with people exercising today - while police were seen speaking to revellers relaxing on outdoor benches

Bournemouth's sea front was jam-packed with people exercising today - while police were seen speaking to revellers relaxing on outdoor benches

Bournemouth’s sea front was jam-packed with people exercising today – while police were seen speaking to revellers relaxing on outdoor benches

London's Victoria Park was jammed with weekend walkers left with few options but to venture to the great outdoors as England's nation-wide lockdown forces all non-essential shops to close

London's Victoria Park was jammed with weekend walkers left with few options but to venture to the great outdoors as England's nation-wide lockdown forces all non-essential shops to close

London’s Victoria Park was jammed with weekend walkers left with few options but to venture to the great outdoors as England’s nation-wide lockdown forces all non-essential shops to close

A Pound Land shopper in Slough is seen leaving the shop without a face mask. During the first shutdown, supermarkets installed bouncers at store entrances to challenge rule-breakers and created in-store one-way systems to help people socially distance

A Pound Land shopper in Slough is seen leaving the shop without a face mask. During the first shutdown, supermarkets installed bouncers at store entrances to challenge rule-breakers and created in-store one-way systems to help people socially distance

A Pound Land shopper in Slough is seen leaving the shop without a face mask. During the first shutdown, supermarkets installed bouncers at store entrances to challenge rule-breakers and created in-store one-way systems to help people socially distance

The UK recorded 55,761 new cases yesterday- down a fifth on last Friday – along with a further 1,280.

The daily death toll was also slightly down on the same time last week. Experts say the daily fatality toll won’t peak until next week because of the three-week lag between getting infected and becoming severely ill.   

Mr Johnson has shelved the idea of toughening lockdown for now – after days of swirling rumours that non-essential click and collect and exercising with a friend could be banned in England. 

Mr Johnson told last night’s Downing Street Covid briefing: ‘This disease can be passed on not just by standing too near to someone in a supermarket queue, but also by handling something touched by an infected person.

‘And remember one in three have no symptoms. Washing your hands now is as important as it has ever been.’ 

Police arrest a man in St Martin's Square, Birmingham. A planned anti-lockdown protest is being carried out in the city

Police arrest a man in St Martin's Square, Birmingham. A planned anti-lockdown protest is being carried out in the city

Police arrest a man in St Martin’s Square, Birmingham. A planned anti-lockdown protest is being carried out in the city

Police are seen speaking to people in Birmingham as an anti-lockdown protest carries on in the city centre

Police are seen speaking to people in Birmingham as an anti-lockdown protest carries on in the city centre

Police are seen speaking to people in Birmingham as an anti-lockdown protest carries on in the city centre 

One man is seen talking to officers in Birmingham's Victoria Square. An anti-lockdown protest has been going on in the city, but the number of people taking part has been minimal

One man is seen talking to officers in Birmingham's Victoria Square. An anti-lockdown protest has been going on in the city, but the number of people taking part has been minimal

One man is seen talking to officers in Birmingham’s Victoria Square. An anti-lockdown protest has been going on in the city, but the number of people taking part has been minimal

Britain's streets (London, pictured) were left nearly empty today as Covid-conscious Britons followed Boris Johnson's order to 'stay at home this weekend' amid high Covid figures

Britain's streets (London, pictured) were left nearly empty today as Covid-conscious Britons followed Boris Johnson's order to 'stay at home this weekend' amid high Covid figures

Britain’s streets (London, pictured) were left nearly empty today as Covid-conscious Britons followed Boris Johnson’s order to ‘stay at home this weekend’ amid high Covid figures

Mounted police pass luxury shops on New Bond Street in Mayfair on January 16. The PM urged Britons to stay home last night

Mounted police pass luxury shops on New Bond Street in Mayfair on January 16. The PM urged Britons to stay home last night

Mounted police pass luxury shops on New Bond Street in Mayfair on January 16. The PM urged Britons to stay home last night

Leading Friday’s optimistic press conference, Boris Johnson praised the public’s efforts at following lockdown rules and appealed for people not to weaken, saying they must ‘think twice’ before leaving the house. 

‘This is not the time for the slightest relaxation of our national resolve and our individual efforts,’ he said. ‘So please stay at home, please protect the NHS and save lives.’

Professor Whitty said that the NHS is still under ‘extraordinary’ pressure but he believed the peak of infections had already happened in much of the country and hospitalisations could top out in the next week to 10 days in most places.

‘The peak of deaths, I fear, is in the future,’ he said.  ‘The peak of hospitalisations in some parts of the country may be around about now and beginning to come off the very, very top.’

‘Because people are sticking so well to the guidelines we do think the peaks are coming over the next week to 10 days for most places in terms of new people into hospital.’

Sir Patrick also sounded a positive note about the direction of travel, but added that the measures in place were the only thing holding the disease back: ‘Take the lid off now this is going to boil over for sure.’ 

Earlier this week, a string of supermarkets including Tesco, Waitrose, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons pledged to get tougher with customers who refuse to wear face coverings by denying them entry to their stores.

Mr Johnson added in his address last night: ‘This disease can be passed on not just by standing too near to someone in a supermarket queue, but also by handling something touched by an infected person.

SAGE today published its weekly estimates of the R rate across the country and said the rate of spread appears to be coming down in regions that have been in lockdown since they were put in Tier 4 in December - London, the East and the South East

SAGE today published its weekly estimates of the R rate across the country and said the rate of spread appears to be coming down in regions that have been in lockdown since they were put in Tier 4 in December - London, the East and the South East

SAGE today published its weekly estimates of the R rate across the country and said the rate of spread appears to be coming down in regions that have been in lockdown since they were put in Tier 4 in December – London, the East and the South East

‘And remember one in three have no symptoms. Washing your hands now is as important as it has ever been.’ 

During the first shutdown, supermarkets installed bouncers at store entrances to challenge rule-breakers and created in-store one-way systems to help people socially distance.  

But the bouncers began to vanish as the threat posed by Covid-19 waned during the summer, leading to an increasingly ‘lax’ attitude from shoppers who no longer cover their faces. 

Where do you have to wear a face covering in England under law?

Here is a list of where face masks must be worn in England. Some of the venues are closed under law: 

  • public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams and buses)
  • taxis and private hire vehicles
  • transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
  • shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
  • auction houses
  • premises providing hospitality (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when seated at a table to eat or drink (see exemptions)
  • post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
  • estate and lettings agents
  • theatres
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
  • premises providing veterinary services
  • visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, theme parks, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • places of worship
  • funeral service providers (funeral homes, crematoria and burial ground chapels)
  • community centres, youth centres and social clubs
  • exhibition halls and conference centres
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • storage and distribution facilities
<!—->Advertisement

Shopworkers have revealed that they are receiving abuse from customers for encouraging them to wear masks, fuelling calls for bouncers to visibly enforce lockdown measures. 

Morrisons announced it would deny shoppers who refuse to wear masks entry to its nearly 500 stores, with Sainsbury’s following suit by revealing security guards would ‘challenge’ non-mask wearers.  

Shopworkers’ union Usdaw said it had been ‘inundated’ with complaints from its members of abuse during the pandemic, and demanded supermarkets and food retailers revert to ‘stringent’ restrictions. 

High street chains including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose insisted that Covid safety remains their ‘highest priority’ and said that customers were given regular reminders to follow the rules. 

Earlier this week, the Home Secretary revealed she was backing a tougher police approach to lockdown rules.

Priti Patel said a minority of the public are ‘putting the health of the nation at risk’, adding that officers are moving more quickly to issuing fines where people are clearly breaching coronavirus regulations in a Downing Street press briefing on Tuesday. 

Some people don’t have to wear a mask if they have a valid exemption, such as it causing them severe distress or because of a physical or mental illness, impairment or disability – and they do not have to carry proof.

But concerns are mounting that others are simply breaking the law because they don’t want to wear one – and Ms Patel revealed that nearly 45,000 fixed penalty notices have been issued in the UK since March. 

National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt warned those caught not wearing a mask on a bus or train ‘can expect a fine’ unless they are exempt – and police would no longer ‘waste time’ trying to reason with people such as those who disagree with the rules.

He said: ‘Not wearing a face covering on a bus or a train is dangerous. It risks the lives of other travellers including those critical workers who must continue to use public transport to do their important work.’ 

A string of supermarkets including Tesco, Waitrose, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have now pledged to get tougher with customers who refuse to wear face coverings by denying them entry to their stores. 

Britain’s most senior police officer, Dame Cressida Dick, said Metropolitan Police officers would be prepared to assist shop staff if customers became ‘obstructive and aggressive’ when told they must wear a face covering.

Earlier today, Laurence Fox sparked a row after posting a photo of himself on social media wearing a coronavirus mask ‘exemption badge’ that he ordered from Amazon.

The actor and political activist, 42, who has repeatedly challenged lockdown restrictions, shared the photo on Twitter on Friday beneath a post in which he appears to mock people who wear face masks.

He was seen wearing a badge which read ‘I am exempt from wearing a face covering’. In smaller letters, it added: ‘Be kind. Keep your distance. Thank you for understanding.’  

Mr Fox wrote above the image: ‘After a long period of consultation with myself, an extended review period and proper due diligence conducted with myself, I’ve received the badge that I ordered from Amazon. Thank you for being there for me. #anxiety’. 

Mr Fox’s post has since been ‘liked’ nearly 2,000 times and has been retweeted by more than 600 other Twitter users.   

But some many were critical of the actor for sharing the image and writing the post, with one saying his ‘stance’ was ‘disappointing’.    

Laurence Fox has shown himself wearing a coronavirus exemption badge which he ordered from Amazon

Laurence Fox has shown himself wearing a coronavirus exemption badge which he ordered from Amazon

Laurence Fox has shown himself wearing a coronavirus exemption badge which he ordered from Amazon

A pack of two of the ‘badges’ is on sale on Amazon for £11.  

One critical user responded by saying: ‘Not sure at all why you are taking this stance Laurence but I think its disappointing. 

‘Lets all get with the programme and not undermine the best efforts of the govs and our people for doing the right thing.

‘Try sending the right message out.’ 

Another wrote: ‘I have severe lung fibrosis as a result of sarcoidosis. I’m extremely vulnerable to the virus. 

The actor and political activist, 42, who has repeatedly challenged lockdown restrictions, shared the photo on Twitter on Friday

The actor and political activist, 42, who has repeatedly challenged lockdown restrictions, shared the photo on Twitter on Friday

The actor and political activist, 42, who has repeatedly challenged lockdown restrictions, shared the photo on Twitter on Friday

‘I have l limited lung function but wish everyone would wear a mask, like I do whenever I go out. What’s your excuse for putting me at risk?’

However, one supportive user said they had bought a pack of 4 masks for £13 from Amazon and said they had ‘annoyed the mask zealots’. 

Another branded his post ‘superb’.  

It comes after Mr Fox tearfully branded the Government ‘a disgrace’ for shutting schools earlier this month after a new national lockdown was imposed. 

Mr Fox, who recently set up political party Reclaim, was choked with emotion as he said he thought kids deserved an education.

And he said it would reduce children’s opportunities and questioned if they would soon forget what ‘school was for’. 

Mr Fox's post has since been 'liked' nearly 2,000 times and has been retweeted by more than 600 other Twitter users. But some people in the comments were critical of the Lewis actor for sharing the image

Mr Fox's post has since been 'liked' nearly 2,000 times and has been retweeted by more than 600 other Twitter users. But some people in the comments were critical of the Lewis actor for sharing the image

Mr Fox’s post has since been ‘liked’ nearly 2,000 times and has been retweeted by more than 600 other Twitter users. But some people in the comments were critical of the Lewis actor for sharing the image

However, one supportive user said they had bought a pack of 4 masks for £13 from Amazon

However, one supportive user said they had bought a pack of 4 masks for £13 from Amazon

However, one supportive user said they had bought a pack of 4 masks for £13 from Amazon

Mr Fox said: ‘I’m furious with the Government. 

‘I don’t think our children deserve this and I think they are doing this for political reasons, sorry to be emotional.

‘I think they are doing it for political reasons, I don’t think they are doing it for the sake of our children and I think on principle, our children deserve an education they deserve it, it’s our duty to provide it to them at any cost.

‘We are taking out the liver of a young, healthy child and giving it to an old person or a vulnerable person.’

In November, he was criticised for having what he called a ‘large group’ of friends over for lunch – despite England’s lockdown rules then banning people from meeting indoors, or outdoors in groups larger than six.   

Link hienalouca.com

(Total views: 409 Time, 1 visits per day)

Leave a Reply