Pubs, bars, and restaurants will close across England under the new lockdown measures, announced by Boris Johnson on Saturday, October 31st. The strict new restrictions will come into effect on Thursday, November 5th and will last until December 2nd.
In a press conference from Downing Street, Boris Johnson laid out the strict new nationwide measures, which the government hopes will combat the rising levels of the virus around the country. The announcement came on the same day the UK surpassed 1 million lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Cabinet Minister Michael Gove told Sky News on 1 November that lockdown might be extended beyond 2 December, but the Government will continue to review the data and follow the facts.
The new restrictions will force all pubs and restaurants to close; however, takeaways and deliveries are still permitted.
The recent changes in England follow Scotland, where strict measures have already been imposed on the hospitality sector. On Friday, October 9th, pubs and restaurants across the central belt were ordered to shut for two weeks, though they too can continue to serve takeaway.
In the remainder of the country, licensed premises can open for indoor service between 6 am and 6 pm but will be barred from selling alcoholic drinks. Outdoor Scottish venues can continue to sell alcohol until 10 pm.
Wales will remain in their ‘fire break’ lockdown, and Scotland will enter a new five-tier lockdown system from Monday, November 2nd.
Local lockdown rules in Northern Ireland were also intensified, as pubs and restaurants have already closed for four weeks, and schools will close for two weeks from Monday, November 2nd, with one of these weeks coinciding with the half-term holiday.
Once the national lockdown eases on December 2nd, the country may continue to follow the restrictions from the existing tier system, depending on the severity of infection in the local area – but Michael Gove said there is every chance the lockdown could also be extended, in which case pubs will remain closed beyond that date.
The previous three-tier system rules explained
Following the conclusion of the nationwide lockdown on 2 December, the country will continue with the three-tier or ‘traffic light’ system, with different parts of the country placed in different categories depending on rates of infection.
It is thought the tier three restrictions will run in four-week blocks, subject to a monthly review.
Areas in the highest level face the toughest restrictions. For pubs and bars in ‘very high’ level/tier three areas, this means closures unless they can offer a substantial meal. Restaurants are allowed to stay open in these areas.
In tier two/ the ‘high’ level areas, multiple households are banned from mixing indoors, though the rule of six applies in outdoor environments, such as pub gardens. The 10pm curfew will remain in place for pubs and restaurants in ‘high’ level/tier two areas.