STAY ALERT

The UK government is the one that has managed the health and economic emergency linked to the new coronavirus pandemic in the worst way. With a death rate of 650 deaths from Covid-19 per million inhabitants and a contraction in gross domestic product of more than 22%, the country led by Boris Johnson reports the worst results globally. “Stay Alert” is the slogan chosen to accompany the progressive dismantling of the security measures adopted in the spring. Today, as Europe faces a second wave that is even more impetuous than the first, no further restrictions on the economy have been imposed in the UK: schools, restaurants, gyms and bars remain open, unless individual local authorities choose otherwise. A decision taken by BoJo against the opinion of the scientific community. While the intention to sacrifice public health on the altar of economic and financial interests appears evident, for some sectors the blockade has never been relaxed: dancers, theatres, musicians and every other actor on the British cultural scene are forced to silence for months . The government's invitation for them is to put aside their artistic vocation and transform themselves - "Rethink, Reskill, Reboot" says the new campaign - into "useful workers".

Tate workers front of the closed Queen Elizabeth Hall, during a protest in support of SouthBank centre’s workers, SouthBank Centre, South London.  The the United Kingdom’s largest arts complex plans to remain closed until next spring, announcing plans to cut its workforce by two thirds, mainly low-paid staff which is going to impact Black and minority ethnic workers.
Tate workers front of the closed Queen Elizabeth Hall, during a protest in support of SouthBank centre’s workers, SouthBank Centre, South London. The the United Kingdom’s largest arts complex plans to remain closed until next spring, announcing plans to cut its workforce by two thirds, mainly low-paid staff which is going to impact Black and minority ethnic workers.
Poster showcasing the implementation of extraordinary cleaning measures on public transport to tackle coronavirus, Tottenham court road tube station, Central London. Throughout the pandemic, TfL has been using enhanced anti-viral fluid - the same product used in hospitals - across all the network. A long-lasting anti-viral disinfectant that protects for up to 30 days is also being used.
Poster showcasing the implementation of extraordinary cleaning measures on public transport to tackle coronavirus, Tottenham court road tube station, Central London. Throughout the pandemic, TfL has been using enhanced anti-viral fluid - the same product used in hospitals - across all the network. A long-lasting anti-viral disinfectant that protects for up to 30 days is also being used.
Police minutes before shutting down the event DistDancing, Regent’s Canal, Hoxton, London.The free weekend event started during the lockdown as a series of short shows from members of the Royal Ballet, aerial artists and circus performers in front of waterside arts venue Hoxton Docks, with an audience watching from the towpath opposite. It soon became so popular that TVs around the world talked about it. On the 30th of August police officers force the show to shut down for alleged violation of the law on social distancing measures and for illegal installations.Hackney Council in the previous weeks has issued a demolition notice to Antepavaillion, an art and architecture charity, ordering the removal of the sharks installations from the canal.
Police minutes before shutting down the event DistDancing, Regent’s Canal, Hoxton, London.The free weekend event started during the lockdown as a series of short shows from members of the Royal Ballet, aerial artists and circus performers in front of waterside arts venue Hoxton Docks, with an audience watching from the towpath opposite. It soon became so popular that TVs around the world talked about it. On the 30th of August police officers force the show to shut down for alleged violation of the law on social distancing measures and for illegal installations.Hackney Council in the previous weeks has issued a demolition notice to Antepavaillion, an art and architecture charity, ordering the removal of the sharks installations from the canal.
The National Theatre wrapped in barrier tape reading “Missing Live Theatre”, SouthBank, London.Theatre buildings around the country closed due the coronavirus crisis have been wrapped with messages of hope as part of a project by stage designers group Scene Change.At the beginning of July, due to the changes in the government Job Retention Scheme, National Theatre made redundancy for 400 of its casual staff, including its 250-person front of house and 150-person backstage teams. After a seven month lockdown, the National Theatre has announced to reopen in late October with the one-person play Death of England.
The National Theatre wrapped in barrier tape reading “Missing Live Theatre”, SouthBank, London.Theatre buildings around the country closed due the coronavirus crisis have been wrapped with messages of hope as part of a project by stage designers group Scene Change.At the beginning of July, due to the changes in the government Job Retention Scheme, National Theatre made redundancy for 400 of its casual staff, including its 250-person front of house and 150-person backstage teams. After a seven month lockdown, the National Theatre has announced to reopen in late October with the one-person play Death of England.
Closed bar near Saint Paul Cathedral, Central London.Those places, mostly in Central London areas, with a local economy based on office workers, such as  restaurants, bars, health and beauty outlets, are the ones with lower reopening rates post lockdown, since many workers still haven’t return to the office. On the other hand  local markets get a boost from higher activity levels from home workers, boosting local economies of more peripheral areas.
Closed bar near Saint Paul Cathedral, Central London.Those places, mostly in Central London areas, with a local economy based on office workers, such as restaurants, bars, health and beauty outlets, are the ones with lower reopening rates post lockdown, since many workers still haven’t return to the office. On the other hand local markets get a boost from higher activity levels from home workers, boosting local economies of more peripheral areas.
Chinese takeaway, Peckham, South London. With the reopening of non essential shops, the Government encouraged the use of safety measures including plastic screens at the tills and floor markings to keep shoppers two metres apart.
Chinese takeaway, Peckham, South London. With the reopening of non essential shops, the Government encouraged the use of safety measures including plastic screens at the tills and floor markings to keep shoppers two metres apart.
Woman walks in empty street, Cardinal Place, London.
Woman walks in empty street, Cardinal Place, London.
Access to platforms, London Victoria train Station, Central London.
Access to platforms, London Victoria train Station, Central London.
Staff outside London Victoria Station, Central London.The number of staff members in public transports has been implemented with the attempt to assist and guide commuters to maintain social distancing and wearing masks.
Staff outside London Victoria Station, Central London.The number of staff members in public transports has been implemented with the attempt to assist and guide commuters to maintain social distancing and wearing masks.
Civil registrar ceremony, Bromley civic centre,Bromley, South London. The range of Government guidelines about marriage ceremony, go from keep the ceremony as short as possible, to keeping the number of attendees at the minimum, maintaining the capacity of the venue at a level that allows social distancing, till avoid singing to mitigate the potential for increased risk of transmission from droplets and aerosol transmission. The spouses are the only ones exempted to use face covering.
Civil registrar ceremony, Bromley civic centre,Bromley, South London. The range of Government guidelines about marriage ceremony, go from keep the ceremony as short as possible, to keeping the number of attendees at the minimum, maintaining the capacity of the venue at a level that allows social distancing, till avoid singing to mitigate the potential for increased risk of transmission from droplets and aerosol transmission. The spouses are the only ones exempted to use face covering.
Closed clothing store, Southwark street, South London. The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in one of the largest ever shocks to the UK economy and public finances. The UK economy in May was approximately a quarter smaller than in February 2020. Data reveals that three in 10 shops hadn’t reopened after coronavirus restrictions were lifted. While inner-city areas and those that rely on tourism were among the hardest-hit in July, other areas were less affected, relying on a stay-at-home local community to sustain the high street.
Closed clothing store, Southwark street, South London. The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in one of the largest ever shocks to the UK economy and public finances. The UK economy in May was approximately a quarter smaller than in February 2020. Data reveals that three in 10 shops hadn’t reopened after coronavirus restrictions were lifted. While inner-city areas and those that rely on tourism were among the hardest-hit in July, other areas were less affected, relying on a stay-at-home local community to sustain the high street.
People shopping in Oxford Circus, Central London.  On the 15th of June  Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres across England reopened.  In most clothes shops, fitting rooms will be closed. Bookshops intend to put items in quarantine if browsed but not bought, while some jewellers introduced ultraviolet boxes that can decontaminate items in minutes.
People shopping in Oxford Circus, Central London. On the 15th of June Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres across England reopened. In most clothes shops, fitting rooms will be closed. Bookshops intend to put items in quarantine if browsed but not bought, while some jewellers introduced ultraviolet boxes that can decontaminate items in minutes.
Elevator social distancing signage, Heron Tower, Bishopgate, Central London.
Elevator social distancing signage, Heron Tower, Bishopgate, Central London.
Members of staff wearing social distancing t-shirts to remind passengers to keep the 2 metres distance, London Victoria train station, Central London.
Members of staff wearing social distancing t-shirts to remind passengers to keep the 2 metres distance, London Victoria train station, Central London.
People enjoying the sun in front of the Olympic Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, East London.  Signage to encourage social distancing has been placed in every visible outdoor area to prevent mass gathering.
People enjoying the sun in front of the Olympic Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, East London. Signage to encourage social distancing has been placed in every visible outdoor area to prevent mass gathering.
Floor markings indicate a one-way system at entrance in a pub, Shoreditch, London.  On the 4th of July pubs, restaurants and hairdressers were able to reopen, following a review to the 2 metres limit distance reduced to one metre.
Floor markings indicate a one-way system at entrance in a pub, Shoreditch, London. On the 4th of July pubs, restaurants and hairdressers were able to reopen, following a review to the 2 metres limit distance reduced to one metre.
Closed Tate Modern, South London.  UK museums are facing their bigger post-war challenge.
Closed Tate Modern, South London. UK museums are facing their bigger post-war challenge.
Wall celebrating NHS workers as part of the campaign marking the NHS’ 72nd birthday, Westfield shopping centre, Stratford, East London.  The #LightItBlue campaign kicked off at the start of lockdown to celebrate the country's healthcare heroes and key workers.
Wall celebrating NHS workers as part of the campaign marking the NHS’ 72nd birthday, Westfield shopping centre, Stratford, East London. The #LightItBlue campaign kicked off at the start of lockdown to celebrate the country's healthcare heroes and key workers.
Flags celebrating  key workers, Regent street,  London.  Across the West End an installation of 200 giant ‘thank you’ flags has been installed, paying tribute to all key workers who have supported the public through the pandemic.The flags, bearing the hashtag #OurHeroes, can also be seen on Regent Street St James’s, Oxford Street and Bond Street.
Flags celebrating key workers, Regent street, London. Across the West End an installation of 200 giant ‘thank you’ flags has been installed, paying tribute to all key workers who have supported the public through the pandemic.The flags, bearing the hashtag #OurHeroes, can also be seen on Regent Street St James’s, Oxford Street and Bond Street.
Stall with hand sanitiser and mask, London Victoria station, Central London.  Stations have been reorganised, after lockdown measures were eased,
Stall with hand sanitiser and mask, London Victoria station, Central London. Stations have been reorganised, after lockdown measures were eased,
Man walking in empty, City of London Financial District, London.  City centre could become a ghost town in the future, since home working - which was initially brought in as a temporary measure in lockdown - could become a more permanent state of affairs. This could allows firms to cut their rent and utilities costs, while offering employee major flexibility.  Remote working – complete with its Zoom conference calls – has been judged a success by some businesses, who are now questioning the need for huge office buildings.
Man walking in empty, City of London Financial District, London. City centre could become a ghost town in the future, since home working - which was initially brought in as a temporary measure in lockdown - could become a more permanent state of affairs. This could allows firms to cut their rent and utilities costs, while offering employee major flexibility. Remote working – complete with its Zoom conference calls – has been judged a success by some businesses, who are now questioning the need for huge office buildings.
Family having a stroll in empty Fenchurch street in a week day, City of London Financial District, London.
Family having a stroll in empty Fenchurch street in a week day, City of London Financial District, London.
BT tower, Euston road, Central London.   On the 10th of May, the Prime Minister changed the slogan from “Stay Home” to “Stay Alert”, to ease some lockdown restrictions.  The announcement spread confusion among people and attracted criticism both by leaders and members of the scientific community. In Wales and Scotland, the devolved governments who control health decide to keep the original slogan - Stay at home, Protect the NHS, Save lives.
BT tower, Euston road, Central London. On the 10th of May, the Prime Minister changed the slogan from “Stay Home” to “Stay Alert”, to ease some lockdown restrictions. The announcement spread confusion among people and attracted criticism both by leaders and members of the scientific community. In Wales and Scotland, the devolved governments who control health decide to keep the original slogan - Stay at home, Protect the NHS, Save lives.
Shoot of Promotional trailer for the launches on the big screen of Piccadilly Circus of 2020’s Notting Hill Carnival, Piccadilly Circus, Central London.   For the first time from its launch, the live event which usually attracts more than a million people to the streets of WestLondon on August bank holiday weekend to celebrate Caribbean culture, has been cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic. The celebrations instead took place online with a series of live-streamed events.
Shoot of Promotional trailer for the launches on the big screen of Piccadilly Circus of 2020’s Notting Hill Carnival, Piccadilly Circus, Central London. For the first time from its launch, the live event which usually attracts more than a million people to the streets of WestLondon on August bank holiday weekend to celebrate Caribbean culture, has been cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic. The celebrations instead took place online with a series of live-streamed events.
Woman waiting at a bus stop surrounded by social distancing posters, Elephant and Castle, South London.  Special signs, floor stickers and posters have been installed by TfL at 161 bus stops and across London. Posters will also appear on priority bus routes to remind passengers to maintain a two-metre.  Meanwhile, several London boroughs have announced tentative plans to make significant changes to the capital’s streets as the lockdown is eased over the coming months, among them:  increased pavements widths to enable additional space for pedestrians to maintain social distancing.
Woman waiting at a bus stop surrounded by social distancing posters, Elephant and Castle, South London. Special signs, floor stickers and posters have been installed by TfL at 161 bus stops and across London. Posters will also appear on priority bus routes to remind passengers to maintain a two-metre. Meanwhile, several London boroughs have announced tentative plans to make significant changes to the capital’s streets as the lockdown is eased over the coming months, among them: increased pavements widths to enable additional space for pedestrians to maintain social distancing.
Empty bike parking, the Leadenhall Building, City of London Financial District, London.  Although Boris Johnson urged workers to return to the office following the loosening of lockdown measures, many companies are still reluctant to make that move.   Workplaces need to be Covid-19 secure, meaning employers need to assess their risks and have the necessary physical distancing and hygiene arrangements, which can limit the number of workers they can accommodate at any one time.Without counting concerns around using public transport.
Empty bike parking, the Leadenhall Building, City of London Financial District, London. Although Boris Johnson urged workers to return to the office following the loosening of lockdown measures, many companies are still reluctant to make that move. Workplaces need to be Covid-19 secure, meaning employers need to assess their risks and have the necessary physical distancing and hygiene arrangements, which can limit the number of workers they can accommodate at any one time.Without counting concerns around using public transport.
Extincion Rebellion protests in front of a police cordon, Parliament square, London.  After being placed on hold by the corona virus pandemic, the environmental campaign group with the ease of lockdown measures started five days of protests around the country. In the attempt to put pressure on the Government over climate change issues, before to return to “business as usual”.
Extincion Rebellion protests in front of a police cordon, Parliament square, London. After being placed on hold by the corona virus pandemic, the environmental campaign group with the ease of lockdown measures started five days of protests around the country. In the attempt to put pressure on the Government over climate change issues, before to return to “business as usual”.
Deserted street with cranes in the background,Stratford, London.  More construction sites re-opened since Boris Johnson announced the first steps towards lifting the UK’s lockdown, although some in the sector never stopped. During the lockdown the Government encouraged the industry to continue work on sites, but the shortages of materials caused the suspension of some projects.
Deserted street with cranes in the background,Stratford, London. More construction sites re-opened since Boris Johnson announced the first steps towards lifting the UK’s lockdown, although some in the sector never stopped. During the lockdown the Government encouraged the industry to continue work on sites, but the shortages of materials caused the suspension of some projects.
Signage on the side of tube escalators, advising people to wash their hands, keep 2 metres distance, wear face masks, etc. Central London.  The TFL communication campaign consists of posters and announcements around the network, distancing stickers, in place at the busiest and largest stations on the London Underground, London Overground, DLR and Tram networks. More social distancing markers at bus stops and shelters are also being installed across London. Dozens of stations have had new one-way and queuing systems to help control the flow of customers through the station, helping passengers to socially distance, and more than 500 hand sanitisers in Tube station ticket halls have been installed.
Signage on the side of tube escalators, advising people to wash their hands, keep 2 metres distance, wear face masks, etc. Central London. The TFL communication campaign consists of posters and announcements around the network, distancing stickers, in place at the busiest and largest stations on the London Underground, London Overground, DLR and Tram networks. More social distancing markers at bus stops and shelters are also being installed across London. Dozens of stations have had new one-way and queuing systems to help control the flow of customers through the station, helping passengers to socially distance, and more than 500 hand sanitisers in Tube station ticket halls have been installed.
Interior of a cab with a plastic partition screen, London.  The rules of wearing a face covering do not necessarily apply to taxis or private hire vehicles. However from 15 June, passengers and drivers  allowed to cancel a trip without financial penalty if the other party is not wearing a face covering.
Interior of a cab with a plastic partition screen, London. The rules of wearing a face covering do not necessarily apply to taxis or private hire vehicles. However from 15 June, passengers and drivers allowed to cancel a trip without financial penalty if the other party is not wearing a face covering.
Ads on the screen in Piccadilly Circus, Central London.  The concept “new normal” as a new paradigm to forge has been used by everyone from politicians, to media and advertisement, to quell any uncertainty ushered by the coronavirus.
Ads on the screen in Piccadilly Circus, Central London. The concept “new normal” as a new paradigm to forge has been used by everyone from politicians, to media and advertisement, to quell any uncertainty ushered by the coronavirus.
People shine red lights along the Thames as part of the “ WeMakeEvents” campaign, SouthBank, South London.  On August 11th, venues in London and across the UK have been lit up in red to show the event’s industry needs support. Live events have been devastated, from major festivals and landmark theatres, to grassroots venues and business events. This includes a huge supply chain ranging from production, audio, lighting and video, to logistics, planning, transportation, etc.  It’s over a million the number of professionals at risk of losing their jobs across the arts sector, from which around 70 per cent is freelance. Unlike other industries, events, festivals, and performances have been unable to safely reopen due to social distancing guidance, and may not reopen until early 2021
People shine red lights along the Thames as part of the “ WeMakeEvents” campaign, SouthBank, South London. On August 11th, venues in London and across the UK have been lit up in red to show the event’s industry needs support. Live events have been devastated, from major festivals and landmark theatres, to grassroots venues and business events. This includes a huge supply chain ranging from production, audio, lighting and video, to logistics, planning, transportation, etc. It’s over a million the number of professionals at risk of losing their jobs across the arts sector, from which around 70 per cent is freelance. Unlike other industries, events, festivals, and performances have been unable to safely reopen due to social distancing guidance, and may not reopen until early 2021
On-screen ads offering advice on the new safeguarding measures in cinemas, Rio Cinema, Dalston, East London.  On the 4th of July cinemas across the country are allowed to reopen if following the social distancing guidelines. Under measures put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, most independent venues predict having to halve their seating capacity and number of screenings, leading to drops in concession sales and advertising revenue. For the 59% who plan to reopen, concerns over keeping the venues sanitised was deemed to be a big concern, as the cast of hand sanitiser, face mask, and perspex screens around the box office was predicted to add 20% to running costs  A survey by the Independent Cinema Office of nearly 500 independent cinemas, which are often owned by charities and trusts and have thinner margins than larger chains, found that many were not even considering reopening until September, and that many had calculated their long-term future was at risk.
On-screen ads offering advice on the new safeguarding measures in cinemas, Rio Cinema, Dalston, East London. On the 4th of July cinemas across the country are allowed to reopen if following the social distancing guidelines. Under measures put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, most independent venues predict having to halve their seating capacity and number of screenings, leading to drops in concession sales and advertising revenue. For the 59% who plan to reopen, concerns over keeping the venues sanitised was deemed to be a big concern, as the cast of hand sanitiser, face mask, and perspex screens around the box office was predicted to add 20% to running costs A survey by the Independent Cinema Office of nearly 500 independent cinemas, which are often owned by charities and trusts and have thinner margins than larger chains, found that many were not even considering reopening until September, and that many had calculated their long-term future was at risk.
Gaia installation by UK artist Luke Jerram, as part of the Greenwich+Docklands Festival, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, South London.  The Greenwich+Docklands Festival is the first full festival to take place in the UK since the lockdown began.
Gaia installation by UK artist Luke Jerram, as part of the Greenwich+Docklands Festival, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, South London. The Greenwich+Docklands Festival is the first full festival to take place in the UK since the lockdown began.
Hand sanitiser bottle on the floor at the entrance of a big retail shop, Oxford street, Central London.
Hand sanitiser bottle on the floor at the entrance of a big retail shop, Oxford street, Central London.
Group of Orthodox Jews at the London Eye, South London.  After months of closures and in the attempt to recover the tourism sector, from the 1st of August, tourist attractions started to reopen.
Group of Orthodox Jews at the London Eye, South London. After months of closures and in the attempt to recover the tourism sector, from the 1st of August, tourist attractions started to reopen.
Fons Americans, Kara Walker exhibition, Tate Modern, South London.  Tate Modern, the UK’s second largest attraction, reopened on the 27th of July, for the first time since March. The same day workers gathered to protest outside the museum against the redundancy which is going to affect the lowest paid, most precarious members of the staff, mostly from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds.  Since then Tate commerce staff has been on strike.
Fons Americans, Kara Walker exhibition, Tate Modern, South London. Tate Modern, the UK’s second largest attraction, reopened on the 27th of July, for the first time since March. The same day workers gathered to protest outside the museum against the redundancy which is going to affect the lowest paid, most precarious members of the staff, mostly from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds. Since then Tate commerce staff has been on strike.
Street poster of the new campaign to promote the NHS Test and Trace system.   Amid growing fears of a second spike of the disease, the campaign looks to refocus perceptions around the role of testing as a central element to stop the spread of coronavirus, placing it firmly on a par with other key health behaviours that have been adopted by the public in the past few months including: regular hand washing, adhering to social distancing guidance and wearing face coverings.
Street poster of the new campaign to promote the NHS Test and Trace system. Amid growing fears of a second spike of the disease, the campaign looks to refocus perceptions around the role of testing as a central element to stop the spread of coronavirus, placing it firmly on a par with other key health behaviours that have been adopted by the public in the past few months including: regular hand washing, adhering to social distancing guidance and wearing face coverings.
London sky during lockdown, Central London.   The nationwide shutdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak has led to big drops in air pollution across the UK’s major cities, showing that if we keep working from home in normal times, it would have an effect on the quality of the air.Levels of NO2 in most urban areas of the UK have been illegally high since 2010 and many areas have levels of small particles above the limit recommended by the World Health Organisation. This pollution is estimated to cause about 110 premature deaths every day.
London sky during lockdown, Central London. The nationwide shutdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak has led to big drops in air pollution across the UK’s major cities, showing that if we keep working from home in normal times, it would have an effect on the quality of the air.Levels of NO2 in most urban areas of the UK have been illegally high since 2010 and many areas have levels of small particles above the limit recommended by the World Health Organisation. This pollution is estimated to cause about 110 premature deaths every day.
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