London mayor Sadiq Khan is reported to be asking the Prime Minister to review the status of ‘essential retail’ which can be open under the current lockdown - with specific reference to some businesses, including estate agency.
Both the Mirror newspaper and the MyLondon news website report that in the letter sent by Khan to Boris Johnson, estate agencies feature as an example of businesses allowed to open now that were not allowed to open in the spring 2020 lockdown. Then viewings and branches were shut in almost every case; now both activities are operating with Covid-safe measures.
In the letter to the PM - which Khan has sent jointly with Georgia Gould, chair of the London Councils group - Khan calls a fundamental reassessment of which businesses count as essential retail, for masks to be made mandatory outside the home, and for an acceleration of the vaccine roll out in London.
They also demand more financial support for Londoners who need to self-isolate and cannot work, and improved asymptomatic testing for the capital’s key workers.
The tighter rules demanded in their letter would require place of worship to be closed: the pair say that places of worship are "crucially important for communities" and that "we wouldn't be making this request if the situation wasn't very serious.”
The letter is reported to conclude: "We recognise how difficult these decisions are and how they will impose further tough restrictions on Londoners. With new levels of infection remaining high we are left with little choice but to ask that you implement them.”
On Sunday Khan declared a state of emergency in the capital because of Coronavirus, which he described as “out of control”.
Yesterday his office reported that the latest available comparable figures showed that London had 1,005 cases per 100,000 population whereas in England as a whole there were 630 cases per 100,000 population.
Khan himself tweeted yesterday saying: “London's cases are worse than in March, yet our restrictions are looser. We're also dealing with a more transmissible strain of the virus. This cannot continue. London leaders and I are left with little choice but to ask the Govt to tighten measures …
… The Govt should also review which businesses stay open, how they're kept safe and what support those that must close can get.”