Monday 21 September 2020 7:22 pm

Pubs to shut at 10pm under new restrictions

Boris Johnson will tomorrow announce that pubs in England will have to shut at 10pm in an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus, it was reported this afternoon.

The new restrictions are set to be introduced amid warnings that there could be as many as 50,000 cases a day in the UK by mid October if the number of cases continues to rise at its current rate.

Earlier today the chief medical officers of the UK announced that the country’s coronavirus alert level would rise from level three to level four as a result in the surge in cases.

The Sun revealed that pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses could be forced to shut altogether in places where the disease is especially virulent.

There will also be patrols to check whether customers are obeying the “rule of six”, it reported.

Johnson is widely expected to announce the curfew, along with a number of other restrictions, after a crisis meeting of the COBR committee.

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Last week industry bodies warned that a curfew would be potentially devastating for the sector, which is just coming off the much-needed boost of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Michael Kill, the chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said such a move would drive more young people to socialise at illegal gatherings and worsen the spread of the virus. 

“Rumours have been circulating about the government enforcing curfews as a measure to control the pandemic for many weeks now,” Kill said. 

“Further restrictions on the businesses that are open will devastate the sector and will only compound the current issues faced by businesses that are closed and unable to open.”

British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said that a third of UK pubs are already struggling to break even since reopening due to lower capacity and dampened consumer confidence.

And UK Hospitality warned that 900,000 jobs were on the line unless the government provided the sector with extra support.