‘Shambolic’ – anticipated measures set to hit hospitality hardest
23 November 2020
Curfew extension ‘meaningless’ alongside tougher rules
23 November 2020

This follows reports in national media regarding the rules for December, which were revealed over the weekend. 

The measures include the 10pm curfew being replaced with an 11pm curfew, where pubs have been asked to call last orders at 10pm to give customers an hour to drink up and leave the premises.

Johnson also outlined the new tier system. Those in tier one should work from home where possible and pubs can open until the 11pm closing time. 

For the second tier, the new measures mean pubs can only serve alcohol if they serve a “substantial meal”, something that will have a significant impact on wet-led pubs.

Under the new third ‘very high’ restrictions, pubs must close and only serve takeaway – the same service as in the national lockdowns.

While the statement was made today, MPs will vote on the measures later this week, Johnson said he hoped this would happen on Thursday (26 November). It is also expected the Government will announce where will be under each tier when lockdown is released later this week.

National restrictions will end

What are the rules in the new tiered system?

Tier one – pubs can remain open and the Government will reinforce the importance of working from home wherever possible

Tier two – pubs and bars must close unless they are serving “substantial meals” (like a full breakfast, main lunchtime or evening meal) along with accompanying drinks

Tier three – all hospitality will close except for delivery, takeaway and drive-through. Hotels and other accommodation providers must close (except for specific exemptions including people staying for work purposes or where they cannot return home) and indoor entertainment venues must also close.

Via a video link into the House of Commons, Johnson said: “Our Covid-19 Winter Plan is to carry out safely to spring. I can confirm national restrictions in England will end on 2 December and they will not be renewed.

“From next Wednesday, people will be able to leave their home for any purpose and meet others in outdoor public spaces subject to the rule of six.

“Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume and shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector can reopen. Without sensible precautions we would risk the virus escalating into a winter or new year surge. The incidence of the disease is still widespread in many areas.

“We are not going to replace national measures with a free for all, a status quo anti Covid, we are going to go back instead to a regional tiered approach, applying the toughest measure where Covid-19 is most prevalent.

“While the previous local tiers did cut the R number, they were not quite enough to reduce it below one. The scientific advice is as we come out, our tiers need to be made tougher.

“In particular in tier one, people should work from home wherever possible, in tier two alcohol may only be served in hospitality settings as part of a substantial meal.

“In tier three, indoor entertainment, hotels and other accommodation will have to close, along with all forms of hospitality, except for delivery and takeaways and I’m very sorry for the unavoidable hardship this will cause for business owners who have already endured so much disruption this year.

“Unlike the previous arrangement tiers will now be a uniform set of rules. We won’t have negotiations on measure with each region, it is a uniform.”

New tiers

Johnson went on to outline how the Government has learnt lessons from the first lockdown in the spring and until now.

He added: “We have learnt from experience we can do things different. For the 10pm closing time for hospitality, we are going to change that so it is last orders at 10 with closing at 11.

“In tiers one and two, spectator sports and business events will be free to resume inside and outside with a capacity limits and social distancing, providing more consistency in theatres and concert halls.

“We are also strengthen the enforcement ability of local authorities, including specially trained officers and new powers to close down premises that pose a risk to public health.

“Later this week we will announce which areas will form in to which tier. I hope on Thursday, based on analysis of all age groups, especially the over-60s. We will also be looking at the rate by which cases are rising or falling, the percentage of those tested in a local population who have Covid and the current and projected pressures on the NHS.

“I’m sorry to say we expect more regions will fall into, at least temporarily, higher levels than before but by using these tougher tiers and by using rapid turnaround test on an ever greater scale to drive R below 1 and keep it there, it should be possible for areas to move down the tiering scale to lower levels of restrictions.”

Prior to the second national lockdown, 7,440 pubs were in tier three areas and a further 12,119 were in tier two – meaning more than half (52%) of all pubs in England were in the top two tiers before the enforced closure, according to real estate adviser Altus Group.

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