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Britons fume over 10pm pubs curfew as new measures loom

Britons have fumed over plans for a 10pm curfew on pubs and bars as new measures loom, as many punters point out they will just drink faster and arrive at pubs earlier. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out tighter Covid-19 restrictions when he speaks in Parliament today, before addressing the nation at 8pm this evening.

Pubs and other venues will be allowed to serve seated customers only and drinkers will be banned from gathering in crowds. Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said yesterday it was crucial to break ‘unnecessary links between households’. 

But amid new curbs to the hospitality sector, one bar and pub operator in Manchester, Newcastle and Leeds, warned the rules would be the ‘final nail in the coffin,’ for some firms. 

Londoners were out drinking on the streets of Soho last night, but pubs and bars could soon have to shut at 10pm

Londoners were out drinking on the streets of Soho last night, but pubs and bars could soon have to shut at 10pm

Londoners were out drinking on the streets of Soho last night, but pubs and bars could soon have to shut at 10pm

A quarter of venues aren’t taking details  

A study has found up to a quarter of pubs, cafes and restaurants are failing to record customers’ contact details.

The report in The Times found three quarters of 65 businesses visited took down visitors’ details, in order to help with contact tracing efforts. 

A QR code will be put on display from Thursday to allow people to interact with the NHS app as a further means of tracing. 

The study found six out of 10 pubs in Bristol took details, while nine out of 10 took them in Southampton. 

But in Soho, three out of five took no details, while in Islington, North London, all eight pubs and cafes took reporters’ details.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, told The Times: ‘It is absolutely vital that hospitality businesses comply with the test-and-trace requirements . . . everyone should be doing it.’

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned Covid transmission ‘tends to be in social settings, people coming around to your house, or you going out and socialising’.

But with the country now expecting to live under a curfew, people took to Twitter to question the proposal.

Piers Morgan said: ‘Speaking as someone who grew up in a pub, I imagine this will just make people drink more, faster.’  

The Good Morning Britain presenter had said yesterday: ‘Hearing Boris Johnson is going to order pubs to close at 10pm from tomorrow. What possible difference is that going to make? Does he think Covid respects opening hours?’

Speaking on Radio 4 this morning, Martin Wolstencroft chief executive of Ark Inspirations, which runs bars and restaurants in Leeds, Manchester, York and Newcastle, said: ‘The 10pm curfew will be absolutely devastating for our business it’s just such disastrous news. 

‘We may as well not open some of our bars that’s when after 10pm is when we start making money.

‘We don’t know how long it’s going to be for, what’s going to happen next, this is going to be the final nail in the coffin for many operators, it’s just disastrous news. 

The limit on guests at weddings may also be slashed from the current limit of 30. A senior Government source last night acknowledged the Prime Minister’s ‘back to work’ drive would be paused after scientific advisers warned that workplace transmission was a concern. 

The Prime Minister is understood to have found it hard to resist the demands of the Health Secretary and the Government’s scientists as panic about rising cases of coronavirus set in within official circles.

Mr Johnson was reportedly talked out of shutting the entire hospitality sector down by Chancellor Sunak and Business Secretary Sharma, who feared that drifting into a second national lockdown would devastate UK plc, according to The Times.

Brits are trying to see the funny side of a new curfew measure that could shut bars and pubs, but many are still baffled by the idea

Brits are trying to see the funny side of a new curfew measure that could shut bars and pubs, but many are still baffled by the idea

Brits are trying to see the funny side of a new curfew measure that could shut bars and pubs, but many are still baffled by the idea

Some experts believe the longer people are gathered in hospitality venues, the more likely it is that they will let their guard down and stop socially distancing.

Professor Linda Bauld, from the University of Edinburgh, told HuffPost UK: ‘Many countries have taken this approach. The principle is, we know that night time economy generally is risky. 

‘There have been outbreaks linked to nightclubs – which are obviously closed here – and to bars and restaurants. We’ve known this for months. 

‘The longer people are in these venues, the more they probably let their guard down and the mix of social distancing and alcohol is not a good one despite the best efforts of publicans and venue owners.’

Others believe that the 10pm curfew is arbitrary and will still be ineffective. Exeter University epidemiologist Dr Bharat Pankhania told the BBC: ‘The virus doesn’t understand the clock so if you’re going to close at 10pm, what about at 9pm, what about 8pm?’ 

Boris Johnson hits reverse: PM will order pubs and restaurants to close at 10pm, tell workers ‘stay HOME if you can’ and demand police crack down hard on rule breakers in TV speech TODAY

Boris Johnson will unveil a major crackdown on normal life today in a bid to halt a second wave of coronavirus.

He will drop his ‘back to work’ drive, announce restrictions on socialising and impose a 10pm curfew on bars and restaurants from Thursday.

Pubs and other venues will be allowed to serve seated customers only and drinkers will be banned from gathering in crowds. Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said yesterday it was crucial to break ‘unnecessary links between households’.

Northern Ireland last night announced a ban on families visiting other households and there was speculation England could follow suit. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned Covid transmission ‘tends to be in social settings, people coming around to your house, or you going out and socialising’.

The limit on guests at weddings may also be slashed from the current limit of 30. A senior Government source last night acknowledged the Prime Minister’s ‘back to work’ drive would be paused after scientific advisers warned that workplace transmission was a concern.

In July, Mr Johnson urged staff to ‘go back to work if you can’ in a bid to prevent city centres becoming ghost towns. 

But a source told the Mail that employees will be advised to ‘work from home if you can’ during the coming weeks.

The Prime Minister was reportedly set to shut down the entire hospitality sector after the Health Secretary and the Government’s scientists began pushing hard for more draconian measures, according to The Times. It is understood that the Cabinet’s economic hawks pulled him back from the brink.

The restrictions have divided the Cabinet, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Alok Sharma both warning about the potential impact on the economy. But a senior Government source insisted all ministers accepted the move was needed to bring the R-rate, which measures how fast the disease is spreading, back under control.

‘The aim is to cause maximum damage to the R and minimal damage to the economy,’ the source said. ‘Unless we act now, there will be greater economic damage later on.’

Businesses and schools will be allowed to stay open, with Government sources insisting the measures do not amount to a second lockdown. In other developments:

  • The Covid-19 alert level was raised from three to four, meaning virus cases are either high or rising ‘exponentially’;
  • The number of confirmed cases rose by 4,368, up from 3,899 the previous day. There were 11 more deaths;
  • More than 430,000 residents in South Wales were placed under local lockdowns following an increase in cases;
  • Taxpayers face paying billions more to keep trains running after financial support for rail firms was extended by 18 months;
  • Rules for areas in local lockdown are being relaxed so grandparents can look after their grandchildren;
  • More than 30 leading doctors and academics criticised ‘harmful’ plans to impose blanket lockdown measures in an open letter to the Prime Minister.
Boris Johnson will unveil a major crackdown on normal life today in a bid to halt a second wave of coronavirus. He will drop his 'back to work' drive, announce restrictions on socialising and impose a 10pm curfew on bars and restaurants from Thursday

Boris Johnson will unveil a major crackdown on normal life today in a bid to halt a second wave of coronavirus. He will drop his 'back to work' drive, announce restrictions on socialising and impose a 10pm curfew on bars and restaurants from Thursday

Boris Johnson will unveil a major crackdown on normal life today in a bid to halt a second wave of coronavirus. He will drop his ‘back to work’ drive, announce restrictions on socialising and impose a 10pm curfew on bars and restaurants from Thursday

Pubs and other venues will be allowed to serve seated customers only and drinkers will be banned from gathering in crowds (pictured, people enjoying a drink outside the Red Lion pub in Westminster, London)

Pubs and other venues will be allowed to serve seated customers only and drinkers will be banned from gathering in crowds (pictured, people enjoying a drink outside the Red Lion pub in Westminster, London)

Pubs and other venues will be allowed to serve seated customers only and drinkers will be banned from gathering in crowds (pictured, people enjoying a drink outside the Red Lion pub in Westminster, London)

In July, Mr Johnson urged staff to 'go back to work if you can' in a bid to prevent city centres becoming ghost towns. But a source told the Mail that employees will be advised to 'work from home if you can' during the coming weeks (pictured, commuters getting into work in Manchester's main tram stop at St Peter's Square)

In July, Mr Johnson urged staff to 'go back to work if you can' in a bid to prevent city centres becoming ghost towns. But a source told the Mail that employees will be advised to 'work from home if you can' during the coming weeks (pictured, commuters getting into work in Manchester's main tram stop at St Peter's Square)

In July, Mr Johnson urged staff to ‘go back to work if you can’ in a bid to prevent city centres becoming ghost towns. But a source told the Mail that employees will be advised to ‘work from home if you can’ during the coming weeks (pictured, commuters getting into work in Manchester’s main tram stop at St Peter’s Square)

The Prime Minister will urge the public to follow the 'rule of six', and carry on with basic measures like hand washing – or risk an even tougher lockdown in the coming weeks (pictured, police searching people on Brighton beach)

The Prime Minister will urge the public to follow the 'rule of six', and carry on with basic measures like hand washing – or risk an even tougher lockdown in the coming weeks (pictured, police searching people on Brighton beach)

The Prime Minister will urge the public to follow the ‘rule of six’, and carry on with basic measures like hand washing – or risk an even tougher lockdown in the coming weeks (pictured, police searching people on Brighton beach)

Official Downing Street slides showed that if the current rate of infection continues there could be 50,000 coronavirus cases every day by the middle of October and that could lead to 200 plus deaths a day by the middle of November

Official Downing Street slides showed that if the current rate of infection continues there could be 50,000 coronavirus cases every day by the middle of October and that could lead to 200 plus deaths a day by the middle of November

Official Downing Street slides showed that if the current rate of infection continues there could be 50,000 coronavirus cases every day by the middle of October and that could lead to 200 plus deaths a day by the middle of November

The number of new Covid-19 being admitted to hospitals in England has been increasing since the start of September

The number of new Covid-19 being admitted to hospitals in England has been increasing since the start of September

The number of new Covid-19 being admitted to hospitals in England has been increasing since the start of September

The map on the left shows spikes in cases in the north west of England but cases are increasing almost across the board

The map on the left shows spikes in cases in the north west of England but cases are increasing almost across the board

The map on the left shows spikes in cases in the north west of England but cases are increasing almost across the board

Sadiq Khan says he wants facemasks worn in ALL London’s public spaces as part of 15-point Covid crackdown – as it’s revealed infection rates in 20 boroughs are HIGHER than areas of England already hit by restrictions 

Sadiq Khan yesterday said he wants face masks worn in all London’s public spaces in a 15-point coronavirus crackdown he thrashed out with council leaders.

The Mayor of London has also urged ministers to impose a 10pm curfew on all pubs and restaurants throughout the capital in a bid to ‘reduce the amount of hours people spend with each other inadvertently passing the virus on’. 

He blamed young people socialising in August for an ‘exponential’ increase in coronavirus cases after the Government’s top scientists today claimed there could be 50,000 daily infections within a month unless draconian action is taken.

Speaking on Sky News, Mr Khan hinted at further restrictions on people’s lives in his 15-point coronavirus plan, including curbs at funerals and weddings, as he claimed the Rule of Six ‘isn’t by itself sufficiently slowing down the virus spreading’. 

The mayor threatened to take ‘additional measures’ to suppress coronavirus as he called on Londoners to avoid public transport and work from home ‘where possible’. 

It comes as new data reveal that coronavirus infection rates in 20 London boroughs are higher than areas of England already hit by restrictions.  

Public Health England’s most recent watchlist shows the authority in England with the lowest case rate considered an ‘area of intervention’ – the highest degree of concern – is Ribble Valley, with 18.3 cases per 100,000.

But Kensington and Chelsea, Enfield and Southwark, among others, have infection rates higher than that. Redbridge (34.2), Hounslow (32.5) and Barking and Dagenham (29.3) are the three worst-hit parts of the capital. 

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A No 10 spokesman said: ‘No one underestimates the challenges the new measures will pose to many individuals and businesses. We know this won’t be easy, but we must take further action to control the resurgence in cases of the virus and protect the NHS.’

The measures announced today will be accompanied by a new push on enforcement, including more fines for individuals and on-the-spot closures for venues that fail to follow the rules.

The final package will be signed off by the Cabinet this morning and coordinated with leaders from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee Cobra.

The Prime Minister will unveil details of the restrictions to parliament at lunchtime before making an address to the nation at 8pm this evening.

He will urge the public to follow the ‘rule of six’, and carry on with basic measures like hand washing – or risk an even tougher lockdown in the coming weeks. Mr Hancock last night said the UK was at a ‘tipping point’ where failure to follow the rules could lead to the virus running out of control.

In a gloomy televised briefing yesterday, Mr Whitty said restrictions may have to last for six months to help the NHS cope through the winter.

The Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, told the briefing without action, Covid cases could hit 50,000 a day by the middle of next month, with deaths hitting 200 a day by November.

Neither of the leading scientists took media questions about their presentation, which critics said was misleading. Mr Johnson will also duck media scrutiny when he makes his televised address tonight.

The warning came amid Tory unease about the prospect of further restrictions and ‘authoritarianism’. Sir Edward Leigh warned the Government was becoming ‘increasingly incompetent’.

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, accused Mr Johnson of ‘ruling by decree’ and treating the public ‘like children’. One Cabinet minister told the Mail that the Prime Minister also has grave reservations about imposing new restrictions on an economy struggling to recover from lockdown.

The source said: ‘My impression is that the last thing Boris wants to do is get sucked back into another lockdown, but he is finding it very hard to resist the message from the scientists.’

The Prime Minister is understood to have found it hard to resist the demands of the Health Secretary and the Government’s scientists as panic about rising cases of coronavirus set in within official circles.

Mr Johnson was reportedly talked out of shutting the entire hospitality sector down by Chancellor Sunak and Business Secretary Sharma, who feared that drifting into a second national lockdown would devastate UK plc, according to The Times.

10pm curfew is about reducing ‘viral load’ if exposed, says expert  

Though the Government’s 10pm curfew on bars and restaurants may seem arbitrary, public health officials claim that most viral transmission in August was caused by increased socialising – among young people.

Some experts believe the longer people are gathered in hospitality venues, the more likely it is that they will let their guard down and stop socially distancing.

Professor Linda Bauld, from the University of Edinburgh, told HuffPost UK: ‘Many countries have taken this approach. The principle is, we know that night time economy generally is risky. 

‘There have been outbreaks linked to nightclubs – which are obviously closed here – and to bars and restaurants. We’ve known this for months. 

‘The longer people are in these venues, the more they probably let their guard down and the mix of social distancing and alcohol is not a good one despite the best efforts of publicans and venue owners.’

Others believe that the 10pm curfew is arbitrary and will still be ineffective. Exeter University epidemiologist Dr Bharat Pankhania told the BBC: ‘The virus doesn’t understand the clock so if you’re going to close at 10pm, what about at 9pm, what about 8pm?’ 

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Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, together with Mr Hancock, is thought to have been keen for swift and decisive action to suppress coronavirus. ‘The scientific evidence speaks for itself,’ he is said to have told them.

Government scientists are also said to have told the Prime Minister that a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants would just cram drinkers in tighter, and to have claimed ‘the only thing we know is that lockdowns work’. 

Concern that the shutdown could last indefinitely unless there was a marked reduction in transmission set off alarm bells in the Treasury, which feared that the economic cost would be high.  

Mr Sunak reportedly struck a compromise with Mr Johnson by asking him: ‘Can you keep going on the things which financially you need to keep going, while being tough on large groups of people hanging out in parks, which has no economic consequence?’ However, it is understood the new restrictions go well beyond what the Chancellor wants, and not far enough in the eyes of the Health Secretary and the scientists. 

London mayor Sadiq Khan last night revealed he is planning new ‘restrictions’ in the capital, including asking more employees to work from home, reintroducing the two-metre rule and extending the number of locations where masks are required.

Government sources last night confirmed that the new restrictions will include a national 10pm curfew on the opening hours of all hospitality businesses.

From Thursday, all pubs, restaurants, casinos and other hospitality businesses will be forced to close their doors early and operate a table-service only model.

Capital Economics warned last night that a 10pm curfew on restaurants and bars until the end of the year would cost the economy £4.5billion over this period.

Simon Emeny, head of pub chain Fullers, said he was ‘very, very concerned’ about the idea of ‘further regulations being imposed on this industry at a time when we have only just got back to reopening’.  

Professor Vallance’s PROJECTION of UK Covid cases by mid-October: 50,000 a day. The REALITY if we echo increase in France and Spain: 10,000 a day

By Sophie Borland, Health Editor for the Daily Mail

Scientists have questioned whether the UK is likely to see 50,000 new infections a day by next month as projected by the Government’s chief scientific adviser.

Sir Patrick Vallance yesterday said he believed the epidemic was doubling every seven days, which would lead to 200 deaths a day by mid-November.

The chief scientific adviser stressed that there were a lot of unknowns behind those projections.

He said: ‘If, and that’s quite a big if, but if that continues unabated, and this grows, doubling every seven days… if that continued you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day.’ Sir Patrick explained that the UK’s rise in cases was closely following the trends in France and Spain and pointed to a graph to illustrate this.

Scientists have questioned whether the UK is likely to see 50,000 new infections a day by next month as projected by the Government's chief scientific adviser. If the UK were to continue to follow the trends in these two countries, then cases would be at 10,000 a day by next month. And if they were to jump to 50,000 a day by next month then they would be off the scale compared with France and Spain, rather than following them

Scientists have questioned whether the UK is likely to see 50,000 new infections a day by next month as projected by the Government's chief scientific adviser. If the UK were to continue to follow the trends in these two countries, then cases would be at 10,000 a day by next month. And if they were to jump to 50,000 a day by next month then they would be off the scale compared with France and Spain, rather than following them

Scientists have questioned whether the UK is likely to see 50,000 new infections a day by next month as projected by the Government’s chief scientific adviser. If the UK were to continue to follow the trends in these two countries, then cases would be at 10,000 a day by next month. And if they were to jump to 50,000 a day by next month then they would be off the scale compared with France and Spain, rather than following them

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty

The UK's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance

The UK's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance

It comes amid fierce criticism from experts of the Government’s top scientists, England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty (left) and the UK’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance (right), after they presented a ‘doomsday’ scenario of 50,000 daily coronavirus cases within a month – which appeared not to be backed by data from France and Spain

However, if the UK were to continue to follow the trends in these two countries, then cases would be at 10,000 a day by next month. And if they were to jump to 50,000 a day by next month then they would be off the scale compared with France and Spain, rather than following them. Another point of contention concerns the virus’s growth rate, the rate at which cases are increasing.

The UK’s current growth rate is somewhere between 2 and 7 per cent, according to Government figures last Friday.

Third of Welsh population is plunged into lockdown from 6pm tomorrow amid ‘worrying and rapid’ spike in Covid cases as towns including Newport and Merthyr Tydfil are subjected to strict new rules 

Almost a third of the Welsh population will be plunged into lockdown from tomorrow amid a ‘worrying and rapid’ spike in Covid-19 cases. 

The areas of Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport and Blaenau Gwent will face the new regulations from 6pm.

Pubs and bars have been ordered to close by 11pm and meeting people from outside your own household is now banned. All licensed premises will have to shut at 11pm.

The latest measures push the number of people affected by local lockdowns in south Wales to 850,000, after Caerphilly county borough and Rhondda Cynon Taf were also handed new rules last week.  

Health minister Vaughan Gething said there had been a ‘worrying and rapid rise’ in cases of Covid-19 in the four areas in south Wales.  

Mr Gething said many of the coronavirus cases had been linked to people socialising indoors without physical distancing.

‘We are seeing evidence of coronavirus spreading,’ Mr Gething told a press conference in Cardiff.  

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But if the virus cases were doubling every day, the growth rate would be just over 10 per cent. It could be that officials expect the growth rate to increase – as it has been over the past few weeks – but this was not explained at yesterday’s briefing.

Scientists also pointed out that restrictions imposed in recent weeks, including the ‘rule of six’ and local lockdowns, would bring down the infection rate. Professor Paul Hunter, a professor in medicine at Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia, said: ‘What they presented is the very worst possible case, given the state of the epidemic at the moment.

‘I think it is pretty implausible we will be seeing 50,000 cases a day by the middle of October. It’s important to bear in mind that they were not making a prediction, they were presenting an illustration of what would happen if cases continued to double, which they almost certainly will not.’

He said the growth of an outbreak tends to decline as it moves towards the peak, adding: ‘It would not surprise me if we end up following the trajectory of France and Spain over the next few weeks – it’s entirely plausible we would be seeing 10,000 cases a day by the middle of October.’

Dr Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, said the 50,000-a-day figure was a ‘worst case scenario’.

He added: ‘We are very unlikely to see cases at that level because interventions will be rolled out that restrict the spread of the virus, such as regional lockdowns.’

Nigel Marriott, an independent statistician, claimed that although the cases were doubling in parts of the North they were actually falling in some regions in the South. He added: ‘This regional disparity makes the national picture hard to interpret and it suggests that the goal should be to halt the northern wave as fast as possible before it has a chance to spread to the South.’

Meanwhile, the UK’s Covid-19 alert level was raised from three to four last night as Government advisors warned that virus cases are probably rising ‘exponentially’. The decision was taken by the nation’s four chief medical officers, who urged the public to follow basic hygiene and social distancing practices to avoid ‘significant excess deaths’.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘This country now faces a tipping point in its response and it is vital everybody plays their part now to stop the spread of the virus and protect lives.’ It followed a rare televised address by Sir Patrick and Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England.

Professor Whitty appealed to the public’s selflessness in adhering to the rules and not just assuming they could ‘take their own risks’. He said: ‘The problem with a pandemic or an infection such as this is that if I as an individual increase my risk, I increase the risk to everyone around me and everyone who’s a contact of theirs.

‘Sooner or later the chain will lead to people who are vulnerable or elderly or have a long-term problem with Covid.’ Despite the gloomy tone of the briefing, Sir Patrick said there was a chance a vaccine could be available by the end of the year. 

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