What Boris Johnson said about weddings, nightclubs, beauticians, soft play areas and sports spectators at his July 17 briefing

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined more details about how he expects the country to ease itself out of lockdown over the coming months.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his latest briefing on July 17.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his latest briefing on July 17.

Addressing the nation on Friday, July 17, his speech and answers to resulting questions touched upon issues, industries and events such as the National Health Service (NHS), local lockdowns, nightclubs, casinos, beauticians, weddings and when spectators may begin attending sporting fixtures such as football matches.

With further details expected to be released about some of the above topics later, here is what we know so far.

What was his headline message?

Mr Johnson said he hoped for a "more significant return to normality by November" as he announced further reopening of the economy.

He said: "From August 1, we will reopen most remaining leisure settings, namely bowling, skating rinks, casinos and we will enable close contact services, beauticians to resume.

"Nightclubs, soft play areas - sadly - need to remain closed for now, although this will be kept under review.

"We will restart indoor performances to a live audience, subject to the success of pilots, and we will also pilot larger gatherings in venues like sport stadia, with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn.

"We will also allow wedding receptions for up to 30 people."

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He added: "It is my strong and sincere hope that we will be able to review the outstanding restrictions and allow a more significant return to normality from November, at the earliest, possibly in time for Christmas."

Doesn’t Christmas and winter bring extra pressure on the NHS?

Mr Johnson has also confirmed an extra £3 billion in funding for the NHS to prepare for a possible second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Admitting covid-19 could become “more virulent” in winter, he said: "Demand for testing is not the only challenge that winter will bring. It's possible that the virus will be more virulent in the winter months and it's certain that the NHS will face the usual annual winter pressures."

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He added: "We're making sure we're ready for winter and planning for the worst.

"But even as we plan for the worst I strongly believe we should hope for the best.

"That means looking ahead with optimism, now extending our plan to lift the remaining national measures, which have restricted our lives since March, so we can get back to something closer to normal life."

What did he say about local lockdowns?

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He said: "From tomorrow, local authorities will have new powers in their areas.

"They will be able to close specific premises, shut public outdoor spaces and cancel events.

"These powers will enable local authorities to act more quickly in response to outbreaks where speed is paramount.

"Action by local councils will not always be sufficient, so next week we will publish draft regulations on how central government can intervene more effectively at a local level.”

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This could include – “when justified by the evidence” – ministers closing “whole sectors or types of premises in an area”, preventing “people entering or leaving defined areas” and reducing “the size of gatherings beyond the national defined rules."

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