Pubs, bars and restaurants in England are set to be forced to close at 10pm from Thursday (September 24).
The ruling is set to be announced in a new speech by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at 10pm today (September 22), as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country.
The UK’s COVID-19 alert level recently moved to 4, which translates to virus transmission being “high or rising exponentially”.
Yesterday, 4,368 new cases were reported in the UK, with 11 deaths. Along with the earlier closing time, the latest restrictions to be set out will also force pubs to exclusively operate table service by law.
Other restrictions put in place across the UK this week include a ban on households mixing indoors in Northern Ireland, while four more counties in South Wales are set to face new restrictions from 6pm tonight.
The new restrictions come as Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, warned this week that, without further restrictions, the UK could see up to 50,000 new COVID-19 cases a day by the middle of October, translating to upwards of 200 deaths per day a month later in mid-November.
It’s the first new set of rules to be rolled out in England since early September, when gatherings of groups of more than six people were banned in the country.
In other coronavirus news, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged a £450,000 emergency fund to help London grassroots music venues “devastated” by the impact of the pandemic.
“London’s world-leading music venues have been devastated by the impact of COVID-19,” Khan said in a statement. “That’s why I’m giving £450,000 to support 141 grassroots venues across our city, tailored to their unique needs, such as rent disputes, local council discussions, or direct financial aid.”