Supermarkets could get green light to open longer on Sundays

Sunday trade laws could be suspended for a year as part of government plans to stimulate the economy amid the corona virus crisis.

Downing Street would legislate to leave larger supermarkets open for more than six hours on Sundays, according to The Times.

The newspaper also said that cafes and pubs would quickly gain approval to serve food and drinks outside, removing the minimum legal consultation period of 28 days.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to drop plans to extend trading times on Sunday in 2016 after a humiliating Commons defeat in which 27 Tories joined forces with opposition parties.

The news comes amid fears for the rate of coronavirus reproduction in parts of England, as new data suggested that the R value is now about one in the northwest.

The value used by the government for the UK as a whole remained between 0.7 and 0.9, although the figure is delayed by two to three weeks, meaning it does not explain the last relaxation of the lockdown.

But a separate report from Public Health England (PHE) and Cambridge University, which estimates its current value, put the northwest at 1.01 and the southwest at 1.00.

English health secretary Matt Hancock told the Downing Street Daily Press Conference that new figures on the R confirm that “there is a challenge in the North West of England to address it and, to a lesser extent, in the South West of England.”

He said the Emergency Scientific Advisory Group (Sage) believes that the R in the UK is below one, but the government wants to “increasingly take an approach to addressing local lockdowns where we see a flare-up.”

The labor-led Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council in Greater Manchester has advised schools to postpone their wider reopening until at least June 22 due to the infection rate.

The public health director, Dr. Jeanelle de Gruchy, wrote to the teachers that he strongly advised them not to admit more students until there is more certainty that the “contamination rate is decreasing and R is clearly less than 1”.

Mr. Hancock used the daily briefing to announce that all hospital visitors and outpatients in England will be required to wear face masks as of June 15, while all hospital workers must wear surgical masks.


He said the government wanted to make sure that hospitals, even if the virus comes under control, are a place of “care and safety.”

Face coverings are also mandatory from June 15 on public transport in England.

In other developments:

  • According to the recently updated World Health Organization opinion, governments should encourage the public to wear face covers where social distance is difficult, such as on public transport and in shops.
  • The health secretary urged people not to participate in mass demonstrations this weekend following protests against racism following George Floyd’s death.
  • Age UK said care home residents are being asked to pay a “coronavirus bill” in excess of £ 100 a week on top of existing benefits to help rescuers survive.
  • PA analysis found that Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) personnel accounted for 60% of primary health workers whose deaths were associated with Covid-19.

Dr. PHE medical director Yvonne Doyle said the latest estimates show that although regional R numbers have increased, they remain below one for most of England, adding, “This is to be expected as we gradually get out of the lockdown “.

“It is vital that everyone continues to social distance, practice good hand hygiene and stay at home and order a test if they have symptoms,” she said.

If R is one or higher, the virus will spread exponentially through the population. An R number of less than one indicates that the virus is decreasing.

PHE estimated that there are 17,000 new infections every day in England, with a range between 11,000 and 25,000.

But Office for National Statistics data puts the new cases at 5,600 daily, down from about 8,000 a week ago.

The PHE survey warned that there is some evidence that value has risen in all regions, saying it was likely due to increasing mobility and mixing between households and in public and work environments.


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