Northern Ireland and Wales have both announced new, hard lockdown measures kicking in just after Christmas. In Northern Ireland, theirs starts on Boxing Day and will last at least 6 weeks. In Wales, theirs begins on 28th December but has no end date. A hint towards how long these measures will last.
Christmas plans crumbling
When the five day, three-household-bubble plans were first announced, there was scepticism from the start about the feasibility of the plan. As the days and weeks have progressed and the situation has continued to deteriorate those plans have been chipped away at and altered by the devolved nations. Now, Wales and Northern Ireland are about to enter long lockdowns which in some ways are more severe than those seen in March.
Northern Ireland is about to introduce a curfew that starts at 8pm until 6am. That did not happen in March and has been seen in other countries around, but not so much in the UK.
Click here for the full list of restrictions in Northern Ireland: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-regulations-guidance-what-restrictions-mean-you
Click here for the full list of restrictions in Wales: https://gov.wales/coronavirus
Today, the situation for England seems to be deteriorating by the hour. On Friday evening an emergency Cabinet meeting was held to discuss the new strain of COVID ripping through London and the South East. This is a new mutation of the virus, which although is normal with viruses, is clearly causing enough concern for the Government as they held another cabinet meeting today (Saturday), with the Prime Minister due to give a news conference later on with Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance.
It is expected that London and the South East is to move into Tier 4, which looks very much like full lockdown. Its also expected the planned Christmas relaxation will be scaled back. To what degree we don’t know yet, but it does seem likely that Christmas plans for many will be cancelled.
There has been no word on Scotland and what measures they may take, but it seems inevitable that they too will follow the rest of the UK in new restrictions.
What does this mean for fenestration?
Although much of the industry is now closing for Christmas, any new restrictions are likely to last into January and perhaps well beyond. So we need to be keeping a close eye on what is being announced at all times.
After looking at the new lockdowns in Wales and Northern Ireland it doesn’t not appear that fenestration business activity will be affected at this point. Although its always worth keeping an eye on information being put out by local government just in case the situation changes. We’re waiting on any new restrictions from England. We don’t know what Tier 4 looks like, but if any new tier is expected to have any impact you would assume that the new measures will be very severe so it’s worth taking a close look at what is announced later on today.
Scotland is yet to announce new measures, but like Wales and Northern Ireland, I would expect fenestration sector activity to be able to continue as and when new information is released.
What is becoming obvious, if it wasn’t already, is that despite vaccines now being available, the effect of these is going to take months, and the virus is already threatening to spiral out of control before the end of the year. We’re going to be living with this firmly into 2021. That being said, let’s get through the Winter, and hopefully by Spring and Summer enough of us are vaccinated to the point where the risk begins to lower and the second half of 2021 should be better than the first half.
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