Pubs In North East England Forced To Close Early As Outbreak Worsens
Amid rising coronavirus cases, new restrictions have been introduced in north east England.
At the time of writing, there’s been more than 378,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the country, with 41,684 deaths.
With a sharp increase in the spread of infection in recent weeks, coming after the loosening of restrictions and the Eat Out to Help Out initiative, the government has introduced new regulations across the northeast of the country.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that from tomorrow, September 18, residents in Northumberland, north Tyneside, south Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham will not be allowed to socialise with other people outside of their household or support bubble.
Pubs, bars and restaurants will be restricted to table service only, with operating hours restricted to 10pm – afterwards, delivery service for takeaways will be permitted.
I know that these decisions have a real impact on families, on businesses and local communities. And I can tell everyone effected that we do not take these decisions lightly.
We agree with the local councils that we must follow the data and act. And the data says we must act now so we can control the virus and keep people safe. I know that the people of the northeast will come together to defeat this virus, and defeat it we must.
Commenting directly on the pub curfew of 10pm, Hancock added: ‘One of the challenges has been groups of people meeting up in our towns and city centres very late at night and after a few drinks that means social distancing goes out the window. So we want to ensure that isn’t another opportunity for the virus to keep spreading.’
This echoes the situation of Bolton, which already has a 10pm–5am curfew where all hospitality venues are closed and only takeaway drinks are permitted.
One scientific advisor earlier told ITV News: ‘Lockdown is the only thing that we know works, to be frank. I think that if we want to keep schools open, we probably have to give serious consideration to a wide range of other measures to stop a major second wave. And we have to think about doing that right now – which we are starting to do.’
As reported by Metro, a member of SAGE added: ‘My big worry now is that we might be too late again to avert a major second wave. If we wait for deaths to go up again before taking decisive action we will be in trouble again.’
Speaking to Sky News‘s Sophie Ridge, Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, warned: ‘It’s a bit like water seeping through a dam, it starts as a trickle and if you don’t do something about it it can turn into a real cascade. If we don’t do this now we’re going to be back in hard lockdown in short order.’
He added: ‘We shouldn’t be out trying to party as hard as we can in the run up to Monday’s lockdown. We should all be really thinking about what we can do now to slow down the spread.’
The curfew comes shortly after the enforcement of the ‘rule of six’, which saw new laws prohibiting social gatherings of more than six people come into effect on September 14.
Home Secretary Priti Patel earlier said: ‘Across the country, we have all made enormous sacrifices in the fight against coronavirus. However, the recent rise in cases makes it clear that more needs to be done to stop the spread of this disease.’
Anyone who breaches the rules could face fines of £100, doubling up to a maximum of £3,200. However, the law doesn’t apply to single households larger than six people or support bubbles, nor does it include gatherings for work, education, weddings, funerals and COVID-19 secure team sports.
It’s okay to not panic about everything going on in the world right now. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization, click here.