You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Government under mounting pressure to review ‘hard’ 10pm hospitality curfew as revellers pour into streets

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 27/09/2020 Rebecca Speare-Cole

The Government is under mounting pressure to review the "hard" 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants.

It comes amid heavy criticism that the new rules are leading to revellers filling streets en masse.

Crowds of people were pictured on Saturday night gathering in city centres and piling onto public transport.

a group of people walking down a street: Reverllers in Soho, London (PA) © Provided by Evening Standard Reverllers in Soho, London (PA)

Meanwhile, long queues formed at off licences after venues kicked customers out at 10pm.

The rules – which came into force in England on Thursday – mean all hospitality venues must shut at 10pm, rather than just call last orders, in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

But Emma McClarkin, CEO of the British Beer and Pub Association, urged ministers to review the curfew and give venues more flexibility on closing times to allow customers to stagger their exits.

She said: “The curfew has been another devastating blow to the beer and pub sector. We have invested millions in creating safe socialising environments and had been slowly winning back the confidence of our customers and rebuilding our trade.

“As we have seen this weekend, the hard 10pm curfew has led to the consequence of customers leaving venues and filling the streets en masse.

____________________________________________________

More on coronavirus:

Download the Microsoft News app for full coverage of the crisis

What you need to know about the new 'rule of six' (Sky News)

Pandemic has exposed Britain's reality (The Guardian)

____________________________________________________

"We would like to see the hard 10pm reviewed to allow us flexibility on doors closing time and allow customers to stagger their exits.

“Having not been consulted by the Government on the announcements last week, we do stand ready to work with the Government to find the safest and most practical ways to tackle coronavirus whilst crucially keeping our businesses and the hundreds of thousands of jobs they provide alive.”

Police patrol in Soho, in central London on September 24, 2020, on the first day of the new earlier closing times for pubs and bars in England and Wales, introduced to combat the spread of the coronavirus. - Britain has tightened restrictions to stem a surge of coronavirus cases, ordering pubs to close early and advising people to go back to working from home to prevent a second national lockdown. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images) Police patrol in Soho, in central London on September 24, 2020, on the first day of the new earlier closing times for pubs and bars in England and Wales, introduced to combat the spread of the coronavirus. - Britain has tightened restrictions to stem a surge of coronavirus cases, ordering pubs to close early and advising people to go back to working from home to prevent a second national lockdown. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Her comments come after Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, said the curfew was “ill-thought-out”.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden insisted on Sunday that there was “definitely science” behind the curfew, despite a scientist advising the Government saying he had “never heard” the measure discussed at Sage meetings.

Mr Dowden said: “There is definitely science behind it, that’s why we’re requiring people to be seated in pubs and restaurants, so that stops the flow of them to and from the bar.

“We are reducing the closing times to stop people staying later and drinking. And the point about all of this is that everyone has their part to play. If we all play by the rules, we can ensure that there are not further, more draconian restrictions.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25: A general view in Soho, in central London on September 24, 2020, on the first day of the new earlier closing times for pubs and bars in England and Wales, introduced to combat the spread of the coronavirus. - Britain has tightened restrictions to stem a surge of coronavirus cases, ordering pubs to close early and advising people to go back to working from home to prevent a second national lockdown. (Photo by Kate Green/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) © 2020 Anadolu Agency LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25: A general view in Soho, in central London on September 24, 2020, on the first day of the new earlier closing times for pubs and bars in England and Wales, introduced to combat the spread of the coronavirus. - Britain has tightened restrictions to stem a surge of coronavirus cases, ordering pubs to close early and advising people to go back to working from home to prevent a second national lockdown. (Photo by Kate Green/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

In Wales, alcohol sales are banned after 10pm, but customers are given an extra 20 minutes to finish their drinks after last orders.

Welsh hospitality businesses including pubs, cafes, restaurants, sports clubs and casinos cannot supply alcohol between 10pm and 6am.

Licensed premises are only able to provide table service for customers when consuming food or drink, and following a 20-minute period to allow customers to finish their drinks at 10pm, must close by 10.20pm.

Stay alert to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Evening Standard

Evening Standard
Evening Standard
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon