Police federation chiefs have blasted Boris Johnson’s new rules as ‘absurd’ and ‘a nonsense’ as small business owners say they will go bust if workers stay home again.
The Prime Minister faced fire from all sides as he U-turned on his push to reopen workplaces after just a few weeks to tell office staff to work from home if they can.
He was barbed for introducing new measures including a 10pm pub curfew and £200 fines for mask rule-breakers among new restrictions on social settings in England.
The PM also announced he is making the British Army available to help the police enforce stringent new coronavirus rules.
He said officers will now have the ‘option to draw on military support where required’ to free up staff so more can crackdown on rule-breakers as he revealed fines are being doubled to £200.
But Downing Street ruled out deploying soldiers on the streets, saying they would be used for ‘backfilling certain duties, such as office roles and guarding protected sites, so police can be out enforcing the virus response’.
Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation Ken Marsh slammed the announcement as ‘a nonsense’ and National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter said it ‘lacked any detail’.
Meanwhile Chief Executive of UKHospitality Kate Nicholls described the restrictions as ‘another crushing blow’ for many businesses.
At the same time Tory MPs warned there must not be another ‘major lockdown’, saying the decision to ditch the back to work drive will cause ‘dismay’ among workers who live in ‘cramped, overcrowded accommodation’.
MP for Telford Lucy Allen even went as far to tweet ‘our collective health is not at risk’, flying in the face of the PM’s main message to the country.
Others also said their constituents would be furious at the new crackdown after they followed the rules only to have seen ‘people at protests, at street parties, not having action taken against them.
But Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned Mr Johnson his actions did not go far enough as she banned people from visiting each other in their own homes in a bid to slash to Covid-19 R rate north of the border.