LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering a phased end of the COVID-19 lockdown that will see Britain’s hit economy fully functional again in July, the Daily Mail reported, citing a government plan.
The new coronavirus, which emerged in China in late 2019, has killed 2.4 million people worldwide, boosted normal life for billions and sent Britain through its worst slump in 300 years.
Johnson, who is due out of lockdown on February 22, said the exit plans would be cautious but irreversible. The United Kingdom has vaccinated 15.6 million people with the first dose so far.
The Mail said the limited escape from the lockdown will begin in April with holiday permits and larger hotels reopening, although pubs, bars and restaurants will have to wait until May. Some sports such as golf and tennis can be continued.
Full pub reopening will begin in early June.
“The leisure business may not return to ‘broad normal’ until July under the roadmap out of lockdown,” Mail reported, although it said a final decision had not been made by Johnson.
“Office staff are expected to be told to keep working from home when the prime minister announces his road map,” Mail said. “The message ‘work from home if you can’ will continue into the future.”
Johnson, who has warned people to take newspaper reports on his plans with caution because the final decision has not been made, said he would like to see more data on how the vaccine rollout affects serious illness and death.
So far, there is some data from Israel on that, but not enough from the UK to really be sure of its repercussions, Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical adviser said on Monday.
The easing of the most stringent peacetime restrictions on personal freedom in modern British history would be accompanied by a program of mass testing. British schools will reopen on March 8.
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Edited by Kate Holton and Paul Sandle
The 2020 Christmas holiday season presents UK retailers with a unique challenge as they navigate stringent COVID-19 containment measures and prepare for Britain’s departure from the European Union.
That great Britain is struggling to load a new, fast spreading variant corona virus, meanwhile agreed to a new UK trade relationship with the European Union after leaving the bloc.
As the new national lockdown has begun and the coronavirus vaccine is launched, here is how some UK retailers fared, with the latest news first:
MARKS & SPENCER
M&S reported another big drop sales clothes and household appliances in the three months leading up to Christmas, as restrictions to curb the spread of demand for coronavirus hits and close shops.
PETS AT HOME
The pet supplies retailer raised its pretax profit forecast for the second time in five months after a strong Christmas sale, lifting its shares higher.
That pub Operators said they expected pubs to close at least until March as part of a nationwide lockdown that was imposed earlier this week, with some restrictions remaining even after businesses were allowed to reopen.
The supermarket group raised its annual profit forecast because it reported strong trade in the Christmas quarter when COVID-19 restrictions saw people eat and drink at home.
The discount retailer reported a 22.5% jump in holiday quarter sales and declared special dividends, benefiting from low prices and stores that remained open during the lockdown.
The fashion retailer reported a 58% drop in store sales over the seven weeks that included the holiday season and warned it would hit up to 18 million pounds ($ 24.5 million) if new COVID-19 restrictions continued.
MITCHELLS & BUTLER
The company said it was exploring raising equity capital as a new national lock closed the pub operator’s site, adding no decisions had yet been made on timing, size or requirements.
That Baker and fast food retailers have slowed the decline in sales caused by the pandemic but do not expect profits to return to pre-pandemic levels through 2022 at the earliest.
The tile retailer said the UK’s new lockdown, which has closed the company’s stores for browsing, was expected to hit sales and margins.
Strong sales of champagne and whole salmon helped the supermarket group overtake bigger rivals over Christmas as Brits made up for pandemic-related restrictions on pubs and restaurants by treating themselves at home.
The British fashion retailer beat its forecast for Christmas sales despite COVID-19 restrictions that closed stores in November and the last shopping days of December, resulting in another increase to its underlying profit guide.
The UK branch of the German discount supermarket group said sales were up 10.6% year on year in the four weeks to December 24, with a surge in demand for premium products helping deliver a record Christmas performance.
ENGLISH RELATED FOOD
Primark owners said that the tougher lockdown measures in the UK and Ireland would result in an estimated sales loss of 650 million pounds this financial year, up from a previous estimate of 430 million pounds.
LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the lockdown on Monday night saying the highly contagious variant of the novel coronavirus that was first identified in Britain is spreading so fast that it risks weighing on healthcare.
Britain on Tuesday announced 4.6 billion pounds ($ 6.2 billion) in new lockdown grants to support businesses and protect jobs.
Here’s a quote about the impact.
MINISTER OF FINANCE RISHI SUNAK:
“This new strain of virus presents all of us with a big challenge – and while a vaccine is being rolled out, we need to tighten the restrictions further.
“Throughout the pandemic we have taken swift action to protect lives and livelihoods and today we are announcing a further cash injection to support businesses and jobs through the spring.
“This will help businesses get through the coming months – and most importantly will help keep jobs, so workers can be ready to return when they can reopen.”
UK PM BORIS JOHNSON:
“I want to say to everyone across Great Britain that I know how difficult this is, I know how frustrated you are, I know that you have more than enough government guidance on how to beat this virus. But now, more than ever, we must work together. “
JPMORGAN ANALYSIS ALLAN MONKS:
“The leave scheme is set to run until the end of April, and a further extension is likely as recovery dates have been pushed further. While the ever-increasing size of the fiscal deficit will put pressure on the BoE (Bank of England) to adjust for larger QE purchases – for example, a 50 billion pound increase would appear to be on average on this metric – in November the BoE indicated that they have done more than necessary (+ £ 150 billion) on a risk management basis.
“As those risks are now taking place, it is unclear if they want to do more directly: The BoE has laid out a buying program that is expected to occur by the end of this year, and has indicated that it will only increase its weekly buying pace if there is any sign. – a sign of a new disturbance in the market. “
ADAM MARSHALL, BRITISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE
“Although welcomed, the new lockdown provided support from Rishi Sunak and the Ministry of Finance in stages.
“Ministers need to put in place a clear package of support for the whole of 2021 – not just through Spring – to help businesses of all shapes and sizes survive this difficult and uncertain year.”
INSTITUTE OF BOARD OF DIRECTORS
“We are very pleased that the Ministry of Finance has accepted our recommendation to increase local government discretionary grants. This policy has helped reach those who are not yet able to access other support. The government must be ready to increase funds if necessary.
“Chancellors must remain vigilant against the edge of a springy cliff in business support as leave schemes and other support measures weaken. Businesses will also be interested in the government to continue working on its plans for vaccine launches, to support their planning.
“The path of the virus is very uncertain, and the Government must be agile in responding to prevent prolonged economic damage.”
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden and Kate Holton
It comes with an outrageous price tag – but experts say it’s more than justified. Photo / Provided
A pub in Auckland is pouring a beer that will set you up to pay $ 25 for a small 200ml glass, and beer gurus say the price tag is more than justified.
Anagram is a Blueberry Cheesecake Imperial Stout, by Omnipollo and Dugges, nine months old at Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrels and shipped around the world from Sweden to New Zealand.
With 15 percent alcohol, that’s one to drink, not crush, and The Fridge and Flagon in Auckland sells it in just 200ml glasses.
The price tag means a beer costs $ 60 per pint, possibly making it New Zealand’s most expensive beer.
Deep black and with a thick, syrupy consistency, Anagram may not be a beer for light beer fans, but it scores a net 100 percent on RateBeer’s global ranking website, making it one of the best beers on the planet.
The curator of The Fridge and Flagon beer, Matt Eats, said Anagram was “a very rare and exciting beer you’ve never tasted before.”
To Eat, this glass of beer has a much better value for money than the average glass of wine people pay in a restaurant: “People don’t blink when they pay $ 25 for a decent glass of wine at any wine bar but for that price you’re experiencing. something very special, “he said.
“This is one of the best beers in the world, as strong as wine (even stronger), made with equal love and care and far more interesting ingredients. Wine is basically just old grape juice, where’s the fun?”
Kiwi craft beer experts agree that, despite its high price, this beer is a worthy investment.
Beer Jerk co-founder Luke White said he saw this type of beer as “similar to cake”.
“I don’t eat cake every day and when I do eat, it’s in moderation. I’ve never spent $ 25 on a mass-produced trash box like Heineken but I’d definitely drop $ 25 off a glass of beer that the experts have perfectly crafted using ultra premium materials and processes, “he added.
For White, the problem is that beer is seen by many as “a commodity product they buy in big boxes along with toilet paper and bleach.”
“We sell some beers for $ 3 and others for $ 60 and, like every product, some items are more expensive than others. I drive a Honda moped and would never dream of spending $ 100k on a car but I wouldn’t regret anyone. others do it, “he explained.
White said he would love to see “people in New Zealand spend more on drinking less alcohol”.
“The ingredients used to make good beer are very expensive. ‘Cheap’ beers such as Heineken and Corona are actually much more profitable for brewers because they are mass produced and use exponentially fewer ingredients, especially hops,” he added.
Michael Donaldson, author of “Beer Nation” and editor of “The Pursuit of Hoppiness”, says “not everyone will see the value in beer like this”.
“But, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys taste and enjoys unique experiences with a good friend, go for it! Definitely don’t buy it if you can’t afford it,” he adds.
Beer Jerk’s co-founder Brent Grove believes that, if you’re having trouble importing beer into New Zealand, it might as well be a good beer.
“I don’t see any point in importing a beer that tastes like Steinlager or Lion Red. If we’re going to try to import beer, it will be unique and world class,” Grove said.
“This is definitely not the case for the ‘New Zealand rip-off.’ This is simply a very expensive beer to produce and we sell it for the same price as bars in the UK and Sweden, despite the hefty shipping costs here and NZ alcohol excise rates notoriously high. “The scams actually originated from people charging $ 14 for a bottle of Heineken by the beach,” he added.
“Of course that’s five times more than a regular beer,” said Flagon regular Fridge and Dave Sanderson. “But it’s about 100 times better so I think it’s really good.”
ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER, Germany (Reuters) – Germany’s tightening lockdown has eliminated one residue of seasonal frivolity: “Gluehwein” or processed wine, a Christmas market staple usually served in steaming mugs on chilly days on the square -alun cities across the country.
A ban on outdoor alcohol, starting mid-week, was announced on Sunday among measures to curb a second wave of the coronavirus.
Offenders will be fined.
While Germany’s famous Christmas market has been largely banned this year, many people can still get their hands on their Gluehwein, dropping masks to soak up in temporary open booths instead.
In the medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, for example, Gluehwein has recently become one of the few offerings sold around Market Square and its snow-covered wood-framed buildings. However, pedestrians are scarce while signs demanding masks are scattered on the centuries-old walls.
Some cities have restricted outdoor drinking, and reactions are growing. On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament that the wine booth under consideration was incompatible with the COVID-19 measures.
“There is no social distancing or wearing masks while drinking Gluehwein,” said Thomas Boehle, an official in Munich.
Christoph Becker, head of the hospitality sector group in Cologne, has filed a lawsuit to appeal the ban.
“Just because some drivers don’t follow the speed limit doesn’t mean driving is prohibited,” he said.