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Covid: Pubs and restaurants in England to have 10pm closing times – BBC News

People drinking in a bar

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All pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues in England must have a 22:00 closing time from Thursday, to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

The sector will also be restricted by law to table service only.

The measures will be set out by the prime minister in Parliament before an address to the nation to be broadcast live at 20:00 BST on Tuesday.

It comes as the UK’s Covid-19 alert level moved to 4, meaning transmission is “high or rising exponentially”.

Boris Johnson is also expected to stress the need for people to follow social distancing guidelines, wear face coverings and wash their hands regularly.

And, according to newspaper reports, he will urge people to work from home where it does not negatively impact businesses.

The government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has warned there could be 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid-October without further action – which, he said, could lead to more than 200 deaths per day by mid-November.

On Monday, a further 4,368 daily cases and 11 deaths were reported in the UK. There were 3,899 cases reported on Sunday.

Further restrictions will also be announced in Scotland on Tuesday, while restrictions on households mixing indoors will be extended to all of Northern Ireland.

Also from 18:00 on Tuesday, four more counties in south Wales will face new measures, including a 23:00 curfew for pubs and bars.

The UK cabinet will meet on Tuesday morning and Boris Johnson will also chair a Cobra emergency meeting – which will be attended by the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Speaking about the new closing times, a No 10 spokesperson 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.”

Tighter restrictions on pub and restaurant opening times are already in place in parts of north-east and north-west England, and Wales.

What difference will it make?

People are understandably asking what difference closing at 22:00 makes. Coupled with the table service law, it will be little more than a marginal gain.

But what ministers hope is that the move, along with the rule of six that came into force last week, will act as a warning to the public that efforts to curb the virus need to be redoubled.

What remains to be seen is whether any other restrictions will accompany this move.

Behind the scenes both ministers and their advisers have argued over what is the right thing to do and how much the public will be willing to tolerate.

It seems inevitable that the virus will continue to spread – that’s what respiratory viruses do during winter, especially one for which there is limited immunity and no vaccine.

But how quickly and widely is something no one knows.

The risk of trying to suppress the virus is the government will soon find itself having to make another decision about further steps.

How far are ministers prepared to go? Every restriction that is taken has a negative consequence to society.

But the nature of the virus means lives will undoubtedly be lost the more it spreads. Balancing those two harms will define the next six months.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UKHospitality, said the new rules should be “applied with flexibility” and called for more support for the sector.

“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,” she said.

“Table service has been widely adopted in some parts of the sector since reopening, but it is not necessary across all businesses, such as coffee shops.”

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night-Time Industries Association, said the announcement was “yet another devastating blow” and warned it would result in a “surge of unregulated events and house parties”.

Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said the move “seems to have emerged from a random policy generator” and called on the government to publish the evidence upon which it was based.

“While mandatory table service has been part of the successful Swedish approach and may have merit, the new closing time will be devastating to a hospitality sector that was already suffering after the first lockdown,” he said.

If Boris Johnson had decreed a year ago that he was going to call last orders on the pub at 22:00, the ravens might have left the Tower.

But given the terrible warnings from the government’s top scientists on Monday, the kind of strict measures that ministers had been discussing – and the extent of restrictions that many people are already living with in some of our towns and cities – you might wonder if what the prime minister has ended up deciding is less stringent than it might have been.

As we have talked about many times, Downing Street is all too aware of the economic havoc the restrictions around the pandemic have caused.

Logically, therefore, it has always only wanted to take action when it has felt absolutely urgent. It is also the case that, as we enter a second surge, more is understood about the virus itself.

That means the government ought to be able to take a more sophisticated approach to managing the spread, rather than blunt, blunderbuss nationwide measures.

At least for now, the prime minister has concluded there is a narrow, but real chance to put the brakes on the outbreak before taking more draconian steps.

Read more from Laura.

New measures will also come into force in Lancashire, Merseyside, parts of the Midlands and West Yorkshire from Tuesday.

Other areas of England, Scotland and Wales are already under local lockdown, with restrictions including a ban on mixing with other households.

The prime minister’s announcement on closing times comes after a series of meetings over the weekend, including with the government’s chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

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lobby restaurants

Restaurants lobby Congress for $120 billion “lifeline” as thousands face permanent closure – CBS News

Of the 23 million people who lost a job early in the pandemic, more than 6 million worked in the food and beverage industry. A recent report predicts up to 230,000 restaurants could permanently shutter by the end of 2020.

Now, restaurant owners have banded together to form the Independent Restaurant Coalition, which has the backing of some of the U.S. culinary industry’s top names and is lobbying Congress to pass a $120 billion bailout for small- and mid-sized restaurants.

“This is everything that will give us the necessary lifeline to get through this period, but also to get slightly past here and get open,” chef and TV host Tom Colicchio told CBS News’ Errol Barnett. “And so when we finally do have a vaccine and when the country finally opens up and people feel comfortable coming back, we’ll have restaurants to get back to.”

The group launched a new TV ad starring Morgan Freeman, aimed at urging Congress to help these restaurants survive the coronavirus pandemic

“Sixteen million people risk losing their jobs, disproportionately impacting people of color and single mothers,” the actor’s voice can be heard saying. “Without your help our favorite places to eat will be gone, forever.”

Lockdowns imposed by state and local governments have prevented bars and restaurants from operating as normal and forced them to get creative to keep customers. Despite their efforts, most owners are barely keeping the lights on. 

“Downtown is like a ghost town, you know. I think the buildings are about occupiable less than 50%,” Ohio restaurant owner Carolina Guttierez said. “We depend on the business people, especially here in the downtown area.”

Even after laying off staff and ramping up takeout at their two Ohio locations, Guttierez and her husband are worried they soon won’t be able to afford their $8,000 per month rent for Arepazo in downtown Columbus. 

“The landlord needs to get his money. But if I’m down 50%, 60%, how am I going to come up with the money, you know?” she asked.

New Orleans-based chef Nina Compton shares their stress, having had to lay off nearly 100 people at her two restaurants to stay afloat. She said the economic impact is felt far beyond the doors of her establishments. 

“This is about the farmer that provides me beautiful produce, this is about the fisherman that gives me beautiful shrimp. I’m keeping their jobs alive,” Compton said. “I’m fighting for many people that don’t have a voice that are, you know, in their kitchens right now just trying to make things work.”

And without government support for the Restaurants Act bailout, she said they “just can’t stay afloat.”

“Everybody’s looking for a bit of hope,” she said. 

The Restaurant Coalition says its effort has already prompted thousands of calls to Congress and nearly 200 co-sponsors for the legislation in both the House and Senate. Lawmakers are still negotiating a new round of stimulus funding, and do not appear close to a deal.

“One of the best places to put stimulus through is the restaurant industry, because every dollar that we take in typically $0.95 to $0.90 go out the door. Our margins are that slim,” Colicchio said. “We’re not going to take this money and pocket it. We’re not going to pay bonuses to executives. We’re not going to buy back stock. This money will get out there in the community.”

© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Money restaurants

With loan money gone, restaurants are at mercy of coronavirus – Alabama’s News Leader

With loan money gone, restaurants are at mercy of coronavirus – Alabama’s News Leader
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Coronavirus restaurants

Coronavirus: Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers reopen in England – BBC News

A member of staff pulls the first drink at the reopening The Toll Gate, a Wetherspoons pub in Hornsey, north London

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A member of staff pulls the first pint at the reopening of The Toll Gate pub in Hornsey, north London

Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas in England are opening their doors for the first time in three months after a major relaxation of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Businesses reopening on Saturday must observe strict social distancing rules.

As measures eased, Boris Johnson urged people to act responsibly, while the government’s scientific advisers said the latest step was not “risk-free”.

The health secretary has warned those who get carried away could be jailed.

Matt Hancock told the Daily Mail people were entitled to enjoy themselves at pubs, but added that people who start fights or cause other disorder “could end up behind bars if you break the law”.

Latest figures show a further 137 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, bringing the total number of deaths to 44,131.

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Men queue for a barbers to open in Ashford, Kent

Restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas were allowed to reopen just after midnight, with some hair salons welcoming clients in the early hours, but pubs had to wait until 06:00 BST after Downing Street expressed fears of early morning partying.

Other places now allowed to reopen in England include:

  • Outdoor gyms, children’s playgrounds and other outdoor spaces
  • Libraries, community centres, bingo halls, cinemas, museums and galleries
  • Funfairs and theme parks, amusement arcades, outdoor skating rinks, social clubs and model villages
  • Places of worship can open for prayers and services, including weddings with up to 30 guests

Two households will also be able to meet indoors or outside, including for overnight stays, although they have to maintain social distancing.

Mr Johnson said a timetable for reopening other businesses including gyms, nail salons and night clubs would be set out next week.

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Bar staff were prepared for customers at the Rochester Castle pub in Stoke Newington, north London

However, in Leicester pubs and other facilities remain closed as the city became the first local lockdown on Monday following a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Police in the city said they were preparing for a busy weekend, with more officers on duty than during a typical New Year’s Eve.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak welcomed the reopening of businesses. On a visit to The Bell and Crown in Chiswick, west London, he said Britain’s pubs and bars employ almost half a million people, “which is why it’s such good news that so many people are able to return to work this weekend, helping us all to enjoy summer safely”.

But some 31% of bars, pubs and restaurants will stay closed on Saturday, according to the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA).

NTIA boss Michael Kill said some association members felt “stuck in a bizarre tug of war between government, licensing and planning regulators and the police”.

The Tollington pub in north London said it hopes to welcome customers in the near future – but only “when it is safe to do so”.

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Theme parks, such as Alton Towers, have also reopened

People in England should stay 2m apart, but the new “one metre plus” guidance means they can get closer if they use “mitigation” measures, such as face coverings and not sitting face-to-face.

Prof Robert West, an epidemiologist from University College London, urged caution as lockdown eases, telling BBC Breakfast: “The virus still is with us. We are looking at around 20,000 new infections a week and around 1,000 deaths a week and the rates aren’t coming down very fast so people have to be tremendously cautious here.”

He said the hospitality sector is doing “everything” it can to reopen safely, but added: “As we open up these businesses you will get more contact… and that means you will get more infections and unfortunately it means you will get more deaths.”

Asked about excess deaths and whether the UK has done better or worse than other countries, statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter, from the University of Cambridge, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We have done badly.”

This is a big moment. Hospitality chiefs have described it as an important development for the national psyche.

But it’s also a moment when health and economic concerns collide.

Trade body Hospitality UK estimates that 53% of pubs and bars and 47% of restaurants will reopen this weekend generating a total – they hope – of nine million visits.

But while a sector that employs three million people is keen to reopen, many are anxious. Will too many customers return to manage venues safely or too few to make it economically worthwhile?

Social distancing measures will both reduce capacity and increase front-line costs.

Three-quarters of businesses expect to run their businesses at a loss this year and the industry estimates that even if this weekend goes well, the sector could lose 320,000 jobs.

It is a high-stakes gamble and the government will be watching nervously to see how the public responds and behaves.

That will ultimately determine whether we are getting a sufficient economic bang for the health risk buck that medical experts say we are inevitably spending this weekend.

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Sandra Jacobs booked a midnight appointment at Carole Rickaby’s hair salon

Sandra Jacobs was one of the first people through the door at her local hairdressers in Camden, north London, after midnight, describing it as “such a relief” to be back in the salon chair.

“My hair was everywhere. I’d been wearing hats to hide it,” she said, adding that her new haircut made her feel “normal again”.

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Media captionSome salons opened their doors as the clock struck 12

Her hairdresser, Carole Rickaby, said it was great to pick up the scissors again. “We’re being very cautious with aprons and facemasks, but it can be a bit of a problem,” she said. “I wear glasses, so wearing a mask as well made my glasses steam up whenever I tried to talk.

“I ended up just telling Sandra she can talk to me and I’ll just listen.”

Meanwhile, newlyweds Louise Arnold and Jennifer Wilson, both 22, are believed to be the first to marry in England after restrictions were eased.

The couple tied the knot at 00:01 BST in Cheshire in front of 16 guests, and the wedding was available online for friends and family who were unable to attend.

They have been engaged for three years and had just over a week to prepare for their rearranged nuptials, after cancelling their previous plans.

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Jennifer Wilson and Louise Arnold hope to have a ceremony with 120 guests next year

What is happening in the rest of the UK?

Each UK nation’s lockdown measures differ, including varying rules on the reopening of food and drink outlets.

In Northern Ireland, pubs and restaurants could reopen on Friday.

In Scotland, beer gardens and outdoor restaurants will be allowed to reopen from 6 July, and indoor areas can be used from 15 July.

The Welsh government has promised talks with the hospitality sector about a “potential phased” reopening, but no dates have yet been given.

Meanwhile, Prince William visited a village pub in Norfolk which had been closed since March.

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Media captionPrince William enjoyed cider and chips in a Norfolk beer garden as it prepared to reopen

In other developments:

  • Recreational cricket could resume from next weekend, the prime minister has said
  • Almost 30,000 more care home residents in England and Wales died during the coronavirus outbreak than during the same period in 2019, ONS figures show
  • Portugal has said its exclusion from a list of countries for which quarantine will not apply for people returning to England is “absurd”
  • Dozens of landmarks across the country will be lit up blue later to mark 72 years since the founding of the NHS


How are you planning to deal with lockdown easing? Are you going to meet loved ones for the first time since it began? Are you working? Are you happy or concerned about lifted restrictions? Please email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

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