Sporting a neater-than-usual blonde barnet as he arrived at the House of Commons, the Prime Minister insisted that Covid cases were surging so high that there was ‘no alternative’ to the month-long blanket restrictions across England.
From Thursday, households will be banned from mixing indoors during the period, and people will be told not to leave home and travel abroad unless for unavoidable reasons, such as work that cannot be performed remotely, or to take exercise
Businesses including hairdressers and beauty salons will be shut again, as will massage parlours and tanning salons.
It comes as the Department of Health reported another 18,950 more positive cases of Covid-19 and 136 deaths, and the time for cases to double in the south east and Midlands exceeding the rate in northern areas.
Smartened up: The Prime Minister addresses the House of Commons after appearing to have had a quick trim of his blonde barnet
Scruffy: On Saturday, the Prime Minister appeared in a severely delayed press conference to tell people living in England they would go back into tighter restrictions from Thursday
‘Faced with these figures, there is no alternative but to take action at a national level,’ said Mr Johnson.
But some sharp-eyed viewers were quick to spot the Prime Minister had smartened up his long locks since announcing the latest set of restrictions for England on Saturday.
‘You can tell this is serious… Boris Johnson has had a haircut,’ quipped Natalie Merchant.
And Julian Shepherd noted that both Cabinet Minister Michael Gove and Mr Johnson had had ‘unusually short haircuts’, describing the PM’s normal look as an ‘exploded haystack’.
Hair salons across the country had made huge changes to their shops to reopen back in July for the first time since March.
Many advertised midnight openings with plans to work through into the morning after hundreds of clients called to book up appointment slots days in advance.
To help stop the spread of Covid, salons had set up plastic screens between hairdressing stations, laid down one-way systems and reduced the number of people seen at any one time.
However after the Prime Minister was catapulted into into announcing a total four-week shutdown for England from Thursday until December 2 hairdressers and beauticians have been swamped by last-minute bookings.
Bosses say they have seen a spike as people are ‘panicking’ ahead of salons having to close their doors.
One beauty salon in Merseyside even announced they would refuse to shut after previously denying the existence of coronavirus and called it a ‘hoax’.
Kim Hillier, 36, who runs Luminate Salon in Watford, said she has been snowed under with bookings since the lockdown announcement on Saturday.
She told MailOnline her seven staff have been working longer hours and extra shifts to cope with the stampede of people rushing to get cuts before Thursday.
‘We’re fully booked, all the columns are full. I think everyone’s panicking before lockdown.’
What are the rules for beauty salons and other shops during the new national lockdown?
According to the government’s new lockdown rules, which are set to come in on Thursday and are planned to last until December 2, all non-essential shops will have to close.
This includes personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons.
Clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops also must close.
Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open.
Essential retail should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers, the government says.
Non-essential retail can also remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.
The Cabinet Office says details about enforcement powers are set to be published ahead of Thursday.
‘We’re still starting at 10am because we all have kids and need to do the school run, but we’re working until 9pm. We even came in yesterday, and we never work Sundays.’
However Skin Kerr Aesthetics Hair & Beauty in Bootle, Merseyside, announced they would refuse to close on Thursday when hairdressers, salons, gyms, restaurants, pubs and bars will all shut up shop.
They posted a message on its Instagram page to say the business would not be complying with the upcoming lockdown.
Bosses say they will continue to provide beauty services and have vowed to fight any fines they receive in court.
In a post on the salon’s Instagram page, it said: ‘We will not be locking down again. We will remain open. We will fight this and any fines in a common law court.’
All personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons are set close from Thursday as part of the lockdown – which is set to last until December.
On Sunday Michael Gove suggested that England could also spend Christmas in full lockdown if the four-week November shutdown did not bring the rates of transmission in the country down.
Appearing on Sophy Ridge on Sky News, the Cabinet Office Minister defended the Prime Minister’s latest move and said that over November the Government would review the data.
Asked if the national lockdown could be extended, he replied: ‘Yes.’
He said: ‘We want to be in a position where we can – and I believe that this is likely to be the case – have an approach where if we bring down the rate of infection sufficiently we can reduce measures nationally and also reduce measures regionally.
‘Because the regional approach is one that, wherever possible, we want to take because again we recognise it may be the case in the future that having reduced R below 1, having reduced national restrictions, we may see a specific upsurge in specific areas which will require specific regional measures.’
But he added: ‘We are going to review it on December 2 but we will always be driven by what the data shows.’
Mr Gove also explained that the Government had a ‘clear plan’ over the next four-week period to support the economy and protect the NHS.
He continued: ‘With a virus this malignant, and with its capacity to move so quickly, it would be foolish to predict with absolute certainty what will happen in four weeks’ time, when over the course of the last two weeks its rate, its infectiousness and its malignancy have grown,’ he said.
‘And so therefore of course we will review what requires to be done but we have a clear plan over the next four-week (period) to support the economy and to protect the NHS.’
On Saturday, the Prime Minister was forced to rush into his announcement of a second national after his plans were leaked from a secret ministerial meeting.
The leak meant that the shutdown was on the front pages before the rest of the Cabinet had been told about the decision.
During his announcement, the Prime Minister said: ‘No one wants to be imposing these kinds of measures anywhere.
Skin Kerr Aesthetics Hair & Beauty in Bootle, Merseyside, posted a message on its Instagram page to say the business would not be complying with the upcoming lockdown. Pictured: Police enter the salon on October 5
In a post Instagram the salon said: ‘We will not be locking down again. We will remain open. We will fight this and any fines in a common law court’
‘We didn’t want to be shutting businesses, pubs and restaurants in one part of the country, where incidence was very low, when the vast bulk of infections were taking place elsewhere.
‘Our hope was that by strong local action, strong local leadership, we could get the rates of infection down where the disease was surging, and address the problem thereby across the whole country.
‘And I want to thank the millions of people who have been putting up with these restrictions in their areas for so long. I want to thank local leaders who have stepped up and local communities.
‘Because as you can see from some of those charts, the R has been kept lower than it would otherwise have been, and there are signs that your work has been paying off
‘And we will continue as far as we possibly can to adopt a pragmatic and local approach in the months ahead
‘But as we’ve also seen from those charts, we’ve got to be humble in the face of nature
‘And in this country alas as across much of Europe the virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst case scenario of our scientific advisers
‘Whose models as you’ve just seen now suggest that unless we act we could see deaths in this country running at several thousand a day
‘A peak of mortality alas far bigger than the one we saw in April.’