The Isle of Wight will join the rest of the country in re-entering a period of lockdown from this coming Thursday until 2nd December, the Prime Minister has announced this evening (Saturday).

Pubs, restaurants and all non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues such as hairdressers, beauty salons and leisure centres must close from 00:01 on Thursday 5th November and will not be permitted to re-open until 2nd December – undoing all the hard work businesses have been putting in to get the doors back open in a COVID-secure way.

Families will not be allowed to mix inside except for childcare and other forms of support.

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Manufacturing and construction will be encouraged to keep going and takeaways will be allowed to remain open, as well as those offering a delivery and click & collect services. Workplaces where workers cannot work from home should stay open.

Schools, colleges and other educational establishments will remain open – one of the significant differences from this lockdown and the one experienced at the start of this year. Courts and Parliament will also stay open.

Outdoor exercise and recreation is being encouraged, but only with 1 other person when from another household. Private prayer in places of worship will be permitted.

Financially, it has been announced the furlough scheme will be extended throughout November but it is unclear what support will be in place for individuals and businesses not part of the furlough scheme.

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Extension to the 4-week lockdown

It is entirely possible that the Island will stay under tight restrictions after 2nd December. In effect, the whole of England will fall under a Tier 4 level and after 2nd December each area will be adjusted to Tiers 1-3, depending on how serious the situation is in the local area.

Christmas will be different, the Prime Minister has said.

Press Leaks

News of the impending restrictions was leaked to the national press on Friday night, forcing Boris Johnson to bring forward the big announcement from Monday to today. Today’s dire news comes on the same day that the furlough scheme ends and mortgage holidays cease.

The announcement was due to be made at 16:00, then 17:00 but was pushed back to 18:30.

Lasting Impact

For Islanders, the impact may be less significant than earlier in the year with the summer season now long gone, but the decision to implement another lockdown will no doubt leave many wondering what was achieved in the first lockdown. It certainly raises the question of whether major events will be able to go ahead in 2021 at all.

The Isle of Wight remains one of the safest places in the country in terms of COVID infections and deaths. The total number of cases since the start of the pandemic is 637.

Island Echo will continue to report throughout the second lockdown, standing by our readers as we have done throughout the pandemic. We take our role as key workers seriously and will bring you all the latest updates in an accurate and proportionate way.

Island Echo