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UK Government Brings In 10pm Curfew To Curb COVID-19 Spike
Christian Eede , September 22nd, 2020 18:44

The restrictions on the bars, pubs and restaurants will come into effect later this week

The UK government has announced new restrictions on the hospitality industry, including the introduction of a 10pm curfew for bars, pubs and restaurants.

Speaking in the House of Commons earlier today (September 22), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that new restrictions are necessary to help curb a second spike of COVID-19 transmission, following a recent significant increase in new daily infections. He also said that the new measures, which come into effect from this Thursday (September 24), may need to remain in place for up to six months.

Under the new rules, bars, pubs and restaurants must close every night between the hours of 10pm and 5am. Such businesses can only provide table service for groups up to six people, and it must be enforced by staff that customers wear masks when they are not seated at their table. Staff are also required to wear masks at all times under the new guidelines, with threats of fines looming over businesses that don't observe the rules.

The new restrictions will impact a number of bars and clubs that have sought to adapt their spaces and business models in recent months in order to cover lost earnings from the months that they were forced to close during the full UK lockdown earlier this year. It's also been noted that staff at hospitality establishments – many of whom are often on changeable or zero-hours contracts – will probably miss out on some additional hours of pay for each night. (No sector-specific extension to the UK government's furlough scheme to support businesses and their staff has yet been spoken of.)

The new rules have also spelt an additional setback for the UK's hospitality and music industry with the announcement that trials of events with live audiences have been put on hold for now. They were initially due to begin from October 1.

The UK recorded 4,926 new cases of COVID-19 today, which is the highest daily total of reported new cases since May.