This afternoon (Tuesday), the Prime Minister made a speech in parliament, outlining the latest coronavirus restrictions for England.
He said that England faces “a perilous turning point” and the new guidelines were needed to tackle the growing number of coronavirus infections – with the “R” rate for reinfection now above one.
Key changes to the guidelines
- Pubs, bars and restaurants must close by 10pm from Thursday (24 September) onwards. They can only operate via table service, although takeaways are exempt and deliveries can take place later.
- The PM stated that people who can work from home “should work from home” with immediate effect. Those not able to work from home should still attend their places of work as usual.
- Masks are now mandatory for all taxi and minicab passengers and all retail and hospitality staff. Hospitality customers must wear a mask except when they are seated to eat or drink. The PM warned that businesses that do not follow the rules could be fined or closed down.
- From Monday, weddings and wedding receptions will be limited to 15 people, although funerals can still have 30.
- Adult indoor team sports will no longer be allowed.
- Extra funding has been made available for police and local authorities and fines for first-time breaches will double to £200.
In response to the announcement of a 10pm curfew on hospitality businesses, Liz Sutton, landlady of the Wellington Arms, said, “To lump all drinking establishments in the same category is unreasonable.
“A small number of pubs have felt that they do not have to follow the rules and we are being penalised for their carelessness.
“From the outset, I have followed the guidelines laid out by the government quite strictly. It has worked well here as my customers continue to return and feel that I am doing everything to keep them safe and the Welly has gained a reputation for that.
“Time is called at 11pm here, if the curfew is set to 10 pm, that hour a night will make a difference to the Welly.
“We have gone from an indoor capacity of 75 to only 28. Having to turn away customers when we are ‘full‘ has seemed like madness, luckily they have been very understanding and realise that customer safety continues to be a huge priority here.
“I hope that this ruling will help the situation and we see the number of cases of covid reducing, although I do feel like the industry is being used as a scapegoat right now.”
Ed Robinson of Wells & Co. said, “Whilst the latest restrictions imposed on late-night trade are undoubtedly an additional challenge at what is already a testing time in the world of hospitality, we at Wells & Co. remain committed to ensuring a safe yet enjoyable experience for all who visit or work in our pubs.”