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Curfew looms for London’s pubs and restaurants

Published:  17 September, 2020

Curfews could see pubs and restaurants close by 10pm, London’s public health chief has warned, as the government aims to curb an escalating spike in infections.

Kevin Fenton, the London director of Public Health England, confirmed that the government is considering curfews that follow blueprints in the north of England, where cases have surged recently.

Bolton in the north west became the first town in England to have a curfew imposed, where all hospitality venues were told to close between 10pm and 5am last week. Only takeaways are being allowed during those times.

Now, London could be due to follow suit.

“By limiting [opening times] you also limit the amount of time people are spending in close contact with others,” Fenton said.

Fenton made the comment yesterday in an interview with The Evening Standard.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has since said he hopes the government’s new “rule of six” would be enough to send the country’s “R number” negative again.

“I don’t want a second national lockdown…I very much doubt that the financial consequences would be anything but disastrous,” he said.

However, curfews could be introduced within as little as two weeks if current measures do not significantly lower the spread of Covid.

According to the Times, a further 3,991 cases were confirmed nationwide yesterday – an increase of 50% compared to a week ago.

Hospitality businesses have already spoken out against the potential measures. Michael Kill, of the Night Time Industries Association, said a 10pm closing time would be “devastating” for the industry as well as counterproductive.

“We are already seeing young people going to unregulated house parties and there is quite likely to be a significant increase if closing time moves to 10pm,” he said.

Problems with testing capacity, the return to universities and young people “letting their guard down” are all being blamed for contributing to the second wave of infections.

Johnson has said that actions to stop a second wave of the virus must be “tough” in order to “protect” Christmas.

“The only way to make sure the country is able to enjoy Christmas is to be tough now,” he told The Sun. “So if we can grip it now, stop the surge, arrest the spike, stop the second hump of the dromedary, flatten the second hump.”