British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has halted plans to ease restrictions in England for another two weeks due to a surge in COVID-19 infection rates.
Johnson made the announcement at a Downing Street press conference on Friday.
On 17 July, the prime minister set out plans to further ease lockdown rules from 1 August to reopen casinos, bowling alleys, indoor theatres and concerts with social distancing.
There were also plans to reopen all close contact services and allow wedding receptions for as many as 30 people.
But the PM said these changes have now been postponed for at least a fortnight.
“On Saturday 1 August we had hoped to reopen in England a number of the higher-risk settings that had remained closed … Today I am afraid we are postponing those changes for at least a fortnight,” Johnson said.
“I know that the steps we are taking will be a real blow to many people … I am really, really sorry about that but we simply cannot take the risk.
This comes after millions in northern England face new restrictions after a spike in cases.
The use of face coverings have been extended to new indoor settings, including museums and places of worship.