All pubs, bars and restaurants will be required to close by 10pm from Thursday 24 September, the prime minister has announced, as the government aims to curb the rise in coronavirus infections.
All venues will now be required to operate via table-service unless offering takeaway and retail and indoor hospitality staff will be required to wear masks. He added that the new measures will likely be in place for the next six months.
Johnson added that fines will be issued to businesses breaking the newly announced Covid-19 restrictions.
The penalty for not wearing a mask or breaking the ‘Rule of Six’ will now double to £200, while police and local authorities will be provided with extra funding in order to increase their presence.
Johnson also added that the public are again to be encouraged to work from home where possible.
The measures announced today will be implemented in England, while devolved powers will take “similar” measures, according to the prime minister.
The PM is also set to address the nation at 8pm tonight (22 September).
She said: “These restrictions will come as another crushing blow for many hospitality businesses struggling to recover so it’s crucial these new rules are applied with flexibility. A hard close time is bad for business and bad for controlling the virus – we need to allow time for people to disperse over a longer period.
“It is hard to understand how these measures are the solution to fighting the disease when Government data shows that just 5% of infections out of the home are related to hospitality. Where such restrictions have been put in place locally they have not cut infection rates, merely damaged business and cost jobs.”
She added: “Most critically, Government needs to recognise this will damage confidence even further and it is now inevitable that the sector will struggle long into 2021. A new support package is now essential. We need to see an early signal that the VAT cut will be extended through to the end of 2021; that the business rates holiday will continue next year; and an enhanced employment support package specifically for hospitality.”
“We agree with the Government that we are all in this together. Hospitality has played its part by investing in Covid-secure venues and reassuring their customers. Now, it’s time for Government to demonstrate its commitment to the sector and its recovery – hundreds of thousands of livelihoods depend upon it.”