Everything changing this week as lockdown eased

August has seen many businesses reopen as lockdown eased – while at the same time some areas of the North West experienced tighter restrictions.

If that wasn't hard enough to keep on top of, more changes are coming from 1 September, affecting everyone from schoolkids to business owners.

On Friday, Boris Johnson said students "need to go back" to school, but more local lockdowns haven't been ruled out, as the government still struggles to curb the spread of coronavirus.

So here is what you need to know about the changes happening in the next few days, and what they mean for you.

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Schools are reopening

Schools will reopen "for all pupils in all year groups" in England at the start of the autumn term but local lockdowns could force some closures, Downing Street has said.

In a briefing to journalists, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said Boris Johnson is 'committed' to his aim of seeing children return to school.

However, there may be changes if a area is in a localised lockdown.

In Liverpool, most school terms start on 1 September, but parents should follow instructions from their individual school.

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The Eat Out to Help Out scheme ends

In August, diners at participating restaurants could get a massive discount off their meal on Mondays to Wednesdays, under the government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

That scheme ends on August 31, so there is just one more day to take advantage of it.

However, many restaurants have pledged to continue the scheme – you can find out which ones in Liverpool are still offering deals here.

You can visit friends elsewhere in the North West more freely

Extra lockdown measures in parts of the northwest intended to curb the spread of coronavirus will be stopped on Wednesday, September 2.

In three days' time, areas of Greater Manchester and Lancashire will have their local restrictions lifted, aligning them with the rest of the country.

This means that from Wednesday, residents in Bolton, Trafford, Stockport, Burnley and Hyndburn are no longer prevented from socialising with anyone outside their household.

Also from September 2, some wards of Bradford, Calderdale (excluding Halifax) and Kirklees (excluding Dewsbury and Batley) will have their local restrictions lifted.

Bosses have to pay more of furloughed staff's wages

People wearing face masks in Chadderton, Oldham

Also from next month, the government will pay 70 per cent of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough.

This is down 10 per cent from the previous 80 per cent figure.

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Employers are required to make up the difference so employees continue to receive 80 per cent of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, for the time they are furloughed.

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Latest on coronavirus cases

Further lockdown easing is likely to be influenced by how far the spread of Covid-19 is under control.

The UK's official Covid-19 death toll has risen by one to 41,499, figures released today showed.

Data released this afternoon by the Department of Health revealed that 1,715 new cases have been confirmed in the past 24 hours.

There are currently 764 Covid-19 patients in hospital, with 60 in ventilator beds.

Earlier today health authorities confirmed a further three hospital deaths, bringing the number of coronavirus patients to die in hospitals to 34,199.

This includes people who died in previous days.

The deaths were reported from the East of England, the North West and the South West, with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all reporting zero fatalities in hospitals in the past 24 hours.

The Department of Health figures include those who died in other settings, such as care homes and private addresses.

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Also today, it was revealed how more than 1,000 people have been tested for Covid-19 following an outbreak being linked to a bingo night in Staffordshire.

There are 16 known cases linked to the event at Silverdale Working Men's Club on August 16, according to Staffordshire County Council.

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