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Bars and restaurants to close at 10pm as Boris Johnson announces national coronavirus restrictions

On Tuesday 22 September, Boris Johnson is set to announce the implementation of new restrictions in England in an effort to curb further spread of the coronavirus.

The tightening of restrictions will come after the chief medical officers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland raised the alert level for Covid-19 from 3 to 4, indicating that transmission of the virus is “high or rising exponentially”, with the course of action being to continue practising social distancing.

Despite launching the Eat Out to Help Out scheme in August, with many restaurants continuing to provide discounts for diners in September, the new measures being announced by the prime minister will restrict the opening hours of food establishments.

With the new rules due to come into force this week, what will the soon-to-be announced curfew look like?

What will the curfew being announced by the prime minister entail?

Tuesday 22 September, Mr Johnson will announce that from Thursday 24 September, pubs, cafes and restaurants will only be allowed to operate in England up until 10pm at night.

Additionally, businesses in the hospitality sector will only be allowed to serve customers via table service, not at bars, for example.

The prime minister’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned on Monday 21 September that if current trends continue into autumn, then by mid-October, England could face around 50,000 new cases every day.

Professor Vallance stressed that if more is not done to reduce the spread of Covid-19, the number of cases could increase to “10,000 next week, 20,000 the week after, 40,000 the week after that”.

“You can see that by mid-October, if that continued, you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day,” he stated.

Speaking about the new restrictions, a spokesperson for No 10 said: "No-one underestimates the challenges the new measures will pose to many individuals and businesses.

"We know this won’t be easy, but we must take further action to control the resurgence in cases of the virus and protect the NHS.”

Will the curfew rules affect socialising with friends or family in households?

The curfew rule set to be announced by Mr Johnson on Tuesday 22 September does not include mention of a restriction on the amount of time members of the public can spend at other people’s houses.

From 14 September, guidance was introduced in England outlining that people can only socialise in groups of six.

Certain groups, such as people at school and in workplaces, were exempt from the new rule.

This rule applies to indoor and outdoor gatherings, which means that it must be followed in households and in public areas such as parks, pubs and restaurants.

How have local lockdowns worked in other areas?

Certain regions of England have been placed under local lockdown due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

In Bolton, for example, hospitality businesses such as restaurants, bars and pubs are only allowed to serve customers via takeaway.

Furthermore, the government has listed a range of businesses in Bolton that must not operate between the hours of 10pm and 5am, which include cinemas, museums and social clubs.

In Leicester, it is advised that people do not socialise with people they do not live with in public areas, unless they are in their support bubble.

This guideline includes socialising in pubs, restaurants and cafes.

In areas of the North East of England, including Durham, Newcastle and Sunderland, hospitality businesses are only allowed to serve customers sitting at tables, and must close their doors between 10pm and 5am

What else will the prime minister say during his address?

During this evening’s televised address, the prime minister will reportedly emphasise what people can do to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.

These measures include continuing to practise social distancing, wearing face coverings and washing hands regularly and thoroughly.

Mr Johnson will also reportedly encourage people to work from home where possible, despite previously urging people to return to their workplaces over summer.