Last orders? How hospitality rules are changing across the across the north
Drinkers and diners across Lancashire are enjoying what could be their last orders this weekend as pubs and restaurants across northern England are widely expected to be told to shut to limit the spread of coronavirus.
It comes amid Government concern that nearly one-third of Covid-19 infections are coming through hospitality settings and follows the start of a 16-day closure of venues across the central belt of Scotland.
Bar staff in Glasgow and Edinburgh locked their doors at 6pm on Friday as the new measures began, with other Scottish venues outside the worst affected areas hit with reduced opening hours and barred from selling alcohol indoors.
A 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants has been in place across the whole of England, Wales and Scotland for just over two weeks.
– Northern England and the Midlands
Council leaders are resisting widely expected restrictions due to be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday which are expected to affect the hospitality industry across large parts of northern England and the Midlands.
These regions are seeing high rates of coronavirus transmission, with evidence presented to MPs by England’s chief medical officer suggesting 30% of infections are coming through hospitality, according to business minister Nadhim Zahawi.
Bars, restaurants and cafes were reportedly packed in Manchester on Friday as revellers sought to enjoy venues before the likely shutdown.
Council leaders in the West of Yorkshire have warned of a “devastating” effect on town and city centres, while the leader of Newcastle Council, Nick Forbes, said a tighter clampdown would be a “travesty of justice” and Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon said it would be “counter-productive”.
The Government has said it will pay two-thirds of the wages of workers in any businesses forced to close, which was met with mixed reaction.
Mayors from the north of England said the new measures appeared not to go “far enough” to prevent “genuine hardship, job losses and business failure this winter”.
dvised that further restrictions for Northern Ireland are likely to be required in the very near future if positive cases continue their upward trajectory.