Lockdown easing: What it means for the Midlands

Boris Johnson has outlined the next steps required in the fight against coronavirus Credit: PA Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined the next stages of England's "road map" to recovery out of coronavirus restrictions.

The adjustments to lockdown include relaxing restrictions on going into workplaces, greater powers to impose local lockdowns, and a timeline for the reopening of indoor performance spaces.

From August 1 the government will "update its advice on going to work," the PM announced.

What do the changes mean for the Midlands?

The Prime Minister says employers should now be encouraging staff to come back to work where possible.

In the Midlands, that will most likely mean a rise in the number of people commuting into big cities, many of which have been very quiet since the start of lockdown.

Around half a million people worked in Birmingham before the lockdown, but a lot fewer have returned since. Credit: PA

Before lockdown, more than half a million people worked in Birmingham city centre, with more than 160,000 commuting in daily.

That number is now likely to be significantly less, with many now opting to work from home.

The change has led to fears over the future of businesses in the city centre who cater to office and retail workers.

The PM also announced new powers for local authorities to impose local lockdown restrictions, allowing for "targeted local action" to combat outbreaks.

From Saturday a local authority will be able to close specific premises, shut outdoor spaces and cancel events to try and control any coronavirus outbreaks.

Gallowtree Gate in Leicester, where localised coronavirus lockdown restrictions have been in place since June 29. Credit: PA

The first local lockdown took place in Leicester, which saw a spike in coronavirus cases towards the end of June.

Restrictions in many parts of the city have now been lifted although stricter measures remain in some areas.

  • A cafe owner in Nottingham reacts to the news that people will be back in the office soon

Trials will begin of larger gatherings in places like sports stadiums in October Credit: PA

Trials of large gatherings such as crowd football games will also be trialled from August.

The move could see stadiums in the region such as Villa Park, Molineux and The Hawthorns welcome back fans later this year.

The PM also announced an extra £3 billion in funding to prepare for a possible second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and "plan for the worst".

Mr Johnson warned Covid-19 could become "more virulent" in winter.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know