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The third national lockdown came into force at the beginning of January as coronavirus cases began to spike in the wake of the Christmas period and the emergence of new Covid strains which have proven to be more easily transmissible. Many retailers were forced to close their doors to the public once again at the beginning of 2021.
All of the UK is currently operating under lockdown restrictions in some form.
The rules and projected end dates are currently due to end at different times depending on each nation.
In Wales, the lockdown is due to last until at least February 19.
Scotland’s lockdown will continue until at least the end of February, with primary school pupils returning full-time from February 22.
In Northern Ireland, the lockdown was recently extended meaning it will remain in effect until at least March 5.
England is due to announce easing measures on February 22, with the Government hoping to reopen schools from March 8.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation on Wednesday, February 3, following the death of national hero Captain Sir Tom Moore who raised more than £32m for the NHS.
Speaking from Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: “New research from Oxford University suggests the protection provided by the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine kicks in after three weeks and lasts right the way through to the booster at three months.
“And research also shows that the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine seems likely to reduce transmission to others.
“And even if these vaccines cannot make us invulnerable, and no vaccine has ever given 100 percent protection to everybody the evidence increasingly shows that our vaccines achieve this crucial objective: to reduce death and serious illness from those major strains of Covid that have been subject to research.
“And in the days leading up to our review point in the week of the 15th of February, we will be accumulating even more data helped by NHS Test and Trace – so that we can begin to chart a way ahead starting, if the data allow, with the reopening of schools on March 8th.
“And I will be setting out as much as we can about that roadmap forward on February 22.
“And though today there are some signs of hope, the numbers of Covid patients in hospital are beginning to fall for the first time since the onset of this new wave – the level of infection is still alarmingly high.
“And I am sorry to say that we have lost another 1,322 lives in the last 24 hours alone and our hearts again go out to every family that grieves.”
Holland and Barrett is a chain of health food shops with more than 700 outlets across the country.
Under lockdown rules, people are urged to stay at home where possible, only leaving home for one of the reasonable exceptions such as to shop for necessities and for exercise once a day.
In addition, all schools have returned to remote learning, except for children of key workers and vulnerable children.
All non-essential retail and hospitality businesses have been forced to shut – however, several businesses deemed essential are permitted to remain open.
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Is Holland and Barrett open in lockdown?
Holland and Barrett shops across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are open during the current lockdown.
The retailer is considered to be an essential retailer because it sells healthy food, vitamins and supplements for specialist dietary needs.
Other retailers permitted to remain open include outlets deemed to be essential such as petrol stations, agricultural supplies shops and storage facilities.
The following safety measures have been implemented across the retail outlets:
- Mandating the use of face masks
- Asking customers to sanitise their hands upon entry
- Limiting the number of customers in any store at one time
- Requiring social distancing
- Cleaning stores more frequently
- Installing protective screens at checkouts
- Encouraging contactless payment methods
- Enabling self-scanning for loyalty cards
- Encouraging the use of e-receipts.
When will lockdown rules be lifted in England?
The Government has not yet confirmed an official day for lifting lockdown measures.
However, the Prime Minister has announced he is hoping to enable schools to reopen from March 8, depending on the state of play with the outbreak towards the end of this month.
A Whitehall source has implied the reopening of non-essential shops will however not take place until April.
The source told the Telegraph: “These findings are exactly what we need. The finding on hospitalisations is particularly significant.
“At the moment, we have got restrictions in place to stop people dying and to prevent the NHS keeling over.
“Once you have protected these groups, even if there is some transmission it’s a manageable problem — so we don’t need the restrictions.
“It’s looking good for schools returning in March, shops reopening in April.”
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