Coronavirus UK: Fury as government is expected to order pubs to shut in northern England

Landlords are furious with Boris Johnson‘s expected plans to order pubs to shut across northern England in a new coronavirus clampdown while restaurants can stay open until 10pm.

The Government’s new regime would see hospitality taking another hit as local restrictions would see pubs and bars in Merseyside and other parts of the North ordered to shut their doors. In a sign of official confusion, however, restaurants will be allowed to remain open until the curfew.

Similar measures are expected to be announced in Nottinghamshire as well as Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Newcastle, while the rules will be reviewed after a month.

Some local leaders have blasted Chancellor Rishi Sunak‘s furlough-style bailout scheme to alleviate the financial damage of more restrictions, calling the programme a ‘kick in the teeth’ which would not prevent businesses from going to the wall.

In a joint statement, the mayors of Greater Manchester, the Sheffield and Liverpool city regions and North Tyne said: ‘What has been announced by the chancellor today is a start but, on first look, it would not appear to have gone far enough to prevent genuine hardship, job losses and business failure this winter.’

Industry experts also denounced the package, with Greg Mulholland of the Campaign for Pubs saying: ‘The level of support announced by the Chancellor is nowhere enough to compensate pubs being forced to close.

‘Many publicans will be forced into even more debt just to survive. There is real anger when pubs have been working hard to operate safely.’

On another day of the coronavirus crisis: 

  • Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson slams ‘Saint’ Rishi Sunak’s new furlough scheme for being ‘not generous’ enough and suggests more money would have been provided if it was in the South;
  • Coronavirus hospital admission in England rise 50 per cent in a week as hospitals in the North make up almost two-thirds of patients;
  • Doctors warn face masks should be mandatory inside and outside in England to curb the spread of infections;
  • A think-tank warns furlough mark two could cost the Treasury more than £2.4billion in six months as it estimates 444,000 hospitality employees will qualify for the scheme; 
  • Revellers are filmed spilling into London’s Leicester Square and dancing together with no regard for social distancing measures after 10pm curfew; 
  • London Mayor Sadiq Khan warns the capital could face tougher restrictions as leafy Richmond becomes the worst-hit borough – but one report suggests the R rate in the city is below 1;
  • Scottish drinkers have been making the most of their last day at the bar before pubs shut down at 6pm for two weeks in a bid to crackdown on coronavirus.

Landlords are furious with Boris Johnson’s expected plans to order pubs to shut across northern England in a new coronavirus clampdown while restaurants can stay open until 10pm (pictured, revellers in Liverpool after closing time in the city centre)

The Government’s new regime would see hospitality taking another hit as local restrictions would see pubs and bars in Merseyside and other parts of the North ordered to shut their doors. In a sign of official confusion, however, restaurants will be allowed to remain open until the curfew (pictured, a deserted Mathew Street in Liverpool city centre)

The Government’s new regime would see hospitality taking another hit as local restrictions would see pubs and bars in Merseyside and other parts of the North ordered to shut their doors. In a sign of official confusion, however, restaurants will be allowed to remain open until the curfew (pictured, a deserted Mathew Street in Liverpool city centre)

Coronavirus UK: Fury as government is expected to order pubs to shut in northern England 1

Coronavirus UK: Fury as government is expected to order pubs to shut in northern England 3

It comes amid fears that coronavirus cases are rising in the North of England as a result of young people going to hospitality venues. However, MPs have accused public health officials of 'cherry-picking' data retrospectively to justify their closure of pubs and bars

It comes amid fears that coronavirus cases are rising in the North of England as a result of young people going to hospitality venues. However, MPs have accused public health officials of ‘cherry-picking’ data retrospectively to justify their closure of pubs and bars

Meanwhile, Chris Snowdon, from the Institute of Economic Affairs, told MailOnline any tightening of restrictions involving the closure of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants will be ‘counter-productive’.

He pointed to the situation in Bolton, where cases have rocketed by 39 per cent over the past seven days to 250 per 100,000 despite heightened restrictions on hospitality.

‘I suspect that a lot of the transmission in recent weeks is from private gatherings, many of which are technically illegal,’ he said, referring to infections across the whole country.

‘The 10pm closing time led to more house parties, less social distancing. I don’t think pubs being closed is going to stop people meeting for a drink.’

He added: ‘It’s interesting that local leaders are opposed to these measures. We’ve also seen this in Spain where the Madrid Government is fighting the Spanish Government.

Similar measures are expected to be announced in Nottinghamshire as well as Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Newcastle, while the rules will be reviewed after a month (pictured, the Social Bar closing up after the 6pm curfew in Glasgow)

Similar measures are expected to be announced in Nottinghamshire as well as Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Newcastle, while the rules will be reviewed after a month (pictured, the Social Bar closing up after the 6pm curfew in Glasgow)

Some local leaders have blasted Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s furlough-style bailout scheme to alleviate the financial damage of more restrictions, calling the programme a ‘kick in the teeth’ which would not prevent businesses from going to the wall (pictured, Liverpool revellers)

Some local leaders have blasted Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s furlough-style bailout scheme to alleviate the financial damage of more restrictions, calling the programme a ‘kick in the teeth’ which would not prevent businesses from going to the wall (pictured, Liverpool revellers)

‘We don’t know what the (UK Government) announcement is going to be yet, but you’re always going to get cases where you have badly affected regions or towns where infections are going up sharply but have places where infections are low.

‘When you take a broad brush you are going to negatively affect people who are not enjoying any of the benefits. But the Government has decided it wants to simplify the equation.’

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, doubted whether locking down will have ‘any material impact at all on transmission’. 

‘We do still have serious questions over the effectiveness such lockdowns will have in stopping the spread of the virus,’ she said.

‘The latest Covid-19 surveillance report from PHE today shows just 30 incidents of Covid-19 were from hospitality settings. NHS Test and Trace numbers linked to pubs across the UK remain exceptionally low. 

‘Based on these insights we must ask why the Government isn’t taking evidence-based, proportionate measures to tackle the virus?

‘It remains the case there is no hard evidence as yet to suggest that pubs, with their strict adherence to Government guidelines, are unsafe, making it unclear if local lockdowns, or indeed the 10pm curfew, will have any material impact at all on transmission.

‘The Government must review its measures on a regular basis and commit to removing them if they are found not to effectively reduce the spread of the virus.’ 

The Cavern Club in Liverpool, as drinkers stay at home and follow coronavirus restrictions

The Cavern Club in Liverpool, as drinkers stay at home and follow coronavirus restrictions

Boards put up on the windows of The Piper Bar shortly after the 6pm curfew, in Glasgow, as pubs and licensed restaurants across central Scotland have begun their 16-day closure

Boards put up on the windows of The Piper Bar shortly after the 6pm curfew, in Glasgow, as pubs and licensed restaurants across central Scotland have begun their 16-day closure

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