Sadiq Khan urges Londoners to stick to new lockdown rules

10 May 2020, 19:45

The Mayor told Londoners to respect the new lockdown rules
The Mayor told Londoners to respect the new lockdown rules. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pleaded with Londoners to keep abiding by the coronavirus lockdown rules after Boris Johnson delivered an update to the nation.

Mr Khan told Londoners: I want to be as clear as possible with Londoners - social distancing measures are still in place. Lockdown hasn't been lifted and we all still need to play our part in stopping the spread of Covid-19.

His message comes after Boris Johnson delivered an update to the nation announcing a slight easing of the lockdown but adding that it was not the time to lift it completely.

"You must still stay at home as much as possible and keep a safe two-metre distance from other people at all times when you are out. Everyone must continue to work from home if they possibly can.

"You must not use public transport for any unnecessary journeys. If you really have to travel, please avoid rush hour.

"We still have a long way to go to defeat this virus and we have not returned to life as it was before.

"The Government has set out a gradual approach to bring the UK out of the current lockdown, carefully monitoring the impact at each stage. This is essential for avoiding a disastrous second peak that could overwhelm our NHS."

The Mayor’s message comes after a warm Bank Holiday weekend in which many people were seen flouting the lockdown rules in the capital, sunbathing in parks and gathering in groups in the sunshine.

Under Boris Johnson’s updated rules, people will be allowed to sit in the sun in their local parks, but only do so with members of your own household and people must remain socially distanced from others.

Mr Khan added: "I'm working hard to prepare London for the next phase of this crisis, and the huge challenges we face around social distancing in our busy transport network and in workplaces. I am determined that London's recovery will be green with bold new measures to support walking and cycling in our city.

"I urge the Government to continue to work with employers, employees and trade unions to design a proper plan for how we can keep everyone safe as they return to work.

"All Londoners must continue to abide by the rules, and stay home as much as possible, so that we can continue to save lives and protect the NHS."

Under the new rules people can:

- Take "unlimited" amounts of outdoor exercise and sit in the sun in a local park

- Drive "to other destinations"

- Play sports but only with members of your own household

- Go back to work but only where jobs cannot be done from home, for example construction and manufacturing

Q&A: The new lockdown rules explained

Does the new plan apply to the whole of the UK?

No. Devolved governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have power to make their own decisions on a number of matters, including health, and some have already done so.

Wales announced a slight easing on Friday allowing people to exercise more than once a day, garden centres reopening with social distancing guidelines and local authorities starting planning on how to safely open libraries and recycling centres.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Sunday that the cap on daily exercise has been scrapped, but she warned that that is not an excuse to meet up in groups at parks or beaches, to sunbathe or have picnics and barbecues.

Northern Ireland's road map, which is expected to only have "nuanced" changes, will be announced this week.

Am I still limited to how much I can exercise outdoors each day?

Not anymore. From Wednesday people will be encouraged to take more outdoor exercise - even an unlimited amount.

Can I sunbathe?

Yes. People will be allowed to sit in the sun in their local parks, but you must only do so with members of your own household and remain socially distanced from others.

Can I drive elsewhere to enjoy the outdoors?

Yes, you can drive to other destinations but only with members of your own household.

When I'm outdoors can I play sports?

Yes, but again this must be limited to doing so only with members of your own household.

What if I don't obey the social distancing rules?

You could be fined, and the financial penalties will be increased in order to enforce the social distancing rules.

Can I return to work?

You should continue to work from home if you can, but if that's not possible you should go to work.

Anyone who cannot work from home, perhaps those in construction and manufacturing "should be actively encouraged to go to work" from Monday, the PM said.

Mr Johnson will set out how workplaces can become "Covid-secure" by following new guidance for employers.

Can I use public transport?

Mr Johnson advised people to avoid public transport "if at all possible because we must and will maintain social distancing, and capacity will therefore be limited".

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Saturday that even with England's public transport network running at full capacity it could only safely cater for 10% of the usual passenger load with the two-metre social distancing rule in place.