Boris Johnson was facing questions about his own coronavirus lockdown behavior after details emerged of him enjoying a Prime Minister’s bike ride on Sunday, 7 miles from Downing Street.
Mr Johnson said on Monday the government was ready to tighten the lockdown rules, but Downing Street had to push back inquiries about whether he was sticking to England’s existing rules with a weekend in Olympic Park, in East London.
Government advice allows exercise outside, but says people should not travel outside of their region. Number 10 declined to say whether Mr Johnson has cycled or been driven to the park.
A Downing Street spokesman said Mr Johnson had complied with Covid-19 guidelines. But Labor MP Andy Slaughter said: ‘Once again it is’ doing what I say, not what I do ‘from the Prime Minister.’
The London Evening Standard reported that a “source” told the newspaper that Mr Johnson noted on his journey “how busy the park was” and that at a ministerial meeting on Sunday evening he wondered “if people were following the rules ”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a Downing Street press conference: “Everything is fine. . . if you went for a long walk and found yourself 11 km from your home, that’s okay, but you should stay local. He added, “There’s no harm in going for a long walk or a bike ride or exercising, but staying local.”
Downing Street on Monday warned England it was ready to tighten coronavirus restrictions further if public acceptance of existing lockdown measures did not improve.
Earlier on Monday, during a visit to a coronavirus vaccination center in Bristol, Mr Johnson said he believed the majority of the public were playing by the rules but added: ‘If we feel things are not are not properly observed, we may need to do so. Do more.”
A spokesperson for Number 10 refused to rule out measures such as putting face blankets outside, introducing a curfew and closing nurseries.
Police are responsible for enforcing rules regarding headgear, but grocer Wm Morrison announced Monday that his security guards would prevent people from entering his stores unless they wear masks or can show that they were medically exempt.
Mr Hancock applauded the supermarket group for its decision. “It’s the right approach,” he says.
Mr Hancock also warned that rules allowing people to exercise outside with someone from another household were being abused by large groups. “We do not rule out taking other measures if necessary,” he said.
And while some police forces have come under fire for law enforcement, Mr Hancock said he was “delighted” that they “are stepping up”.
However, he ruled out scrapping support bubbles, which allow single adults living alone to form a bubble with another household.
On Monday, dozens of Tory MPs messaged the party’s official WhatsApp group to express their concerns about the impact it would have. But Mr Hancock announced Monday night: “The bubbles will stay.”
Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labor Party, said there was an “urgent” need for the government to reconsider current measures within 24 hours.
New nationwide foreclosure rules in England
The main restriction is a firm message to stay at home
People are only allowed to leave their homes to go to work if they cannot reasonably do so from home, to purchase essential food, medicine and other essentials, and to exercise with their children. household or another person – once a day and locally
The most clinically vulnerable will be invited to protect themselves
All elementary and secondary schools and colleges will be closed until a mid-term review in mid-February. Vulnerable children and children of critical workers will still be able to attend while nurseries will remain available
University students will be required to study from home until at least mid-February
Hospitality and non-essential businesses will be closed. Take out services will be available but not for the sale of alcohol
Entertainment venues and animal attractions such as zoos will be closed. Playgrounds can remain open
Places of worship can also remain open, but you can only attend them with your house
Indoor and outdoor sports facilities, including courts, gymnasiums, golf courses, swimming pools and rides, will close. Elite sport, including the English Premier League, may continue
Foreign travel will only be allowed for “essential” business
All details are available on the official government website.