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Stricter Curbs Start for Millions in England and Wales

Millions in England and Wales face the onset of stricter curbs. Stricter measures aim to halt the spread of illness. Public life reshapes under these stricter guidelines, balancing safety with daily necessities. As millions adapt, the resolve to endure reflects the strength of a united community spirit.

Greater Manchester transitioned into the highest alert level, Tier 3, on Friday morning. Coventry, Stoke, and Slough will move into Tier 2 on Saturday, while Nottingham is likely to face Tier 3 restrictions soon.

In Wales, a two-week “firebreak” lockdown began at 6 pm, which entails strict measures to curb the virus’s spread.

Under Tier 3 restrictions, pubs and bars are required to close unless they can serve “substantial meals.” Casinos, bingo halls, and betting shops will also have to shut for a minimum of 28 days.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a multi-billion pound emergency bailout to support businesses and employees during the second wave of the pandemic. The Job Support Scheme will provide more generous assistance to companies to keep their staff employed. Additionally, grants of up to £2,100 per month will be available for firms in Tier 2 areas of England, particularly for those in the hospitality and leisure sectors impacted by restrictions. The package is expected to cost around £13 billion over six months.

Sunak also mentioned that the business grants would be available retrospectively for areas that have been under restrictions since August. Furthermore, additional business support will be provided for regions moving into Tier 3. Approximately 150,000 businesses in England are eligible, potentially amounting to an additional £1 billion in support. The Job Support Scheme’s cost could reach £6 billion if the two million eligible workers take up the offer. Employees working only 20% of their regular hours will receive at least 73% of their regular pay, and the employer’s contribution for non-working hours has been reduced to 5% from the initial 33%.

Self-employed grants have also been increased from 20% of profits to 40%, raising the maximum payout from £1,875 to £3,750. This additional support for the self-employed will amount to £3.1 billion until January.

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