Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce a 10pm curfew for all restaurants, pubs and bars in England
Johnson is expected to make the announcement as he addresses the nation in a live broadcast later today. On-trade venues will also be asked to limit their operations to table service only.
The new measures will be put in place to help curb the spread of coronavirus, following the government's decision to move the country's Covid-19 alert level up from three to four.
The Prime Minister is also expected to set out further guidelines, including asking people to work from home wherever possible.
A 10pm curfew had already been imposed to Northumberland, North and South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham last week, attracting widespread criticism across the hospitality industry.
Martin Greenhow, managing director at Mojo – which owns bars in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham and Harrogate – said: 'With neither evidence to support the assumption that hospitality is driving infection – only 35 cases reported in the sector and as of yet no sign of the threatened dramatic upturn in deaths, the move to curtail the operational hours of our already crippled industry seems unjust and punitive, not to mention illogical and irrational. Are people more infectious after 10pm?
'Hospitality has slaved to work responsibly within the constraints laid out for us and now we are being thrown aside with scant concern for the impact these measures will have on our businesses and the wider economy.'
Meanwhile, responding to the latest announcement that a 10pm curfew will be imposed countrywide, CEO of UKHospitality Kate Nicholls said: 'These restrictions will come as another crushing blow for many hospitality businesses struggling to recover so it’s crucial these new rules are applied with flexibility. A hard close time is bad for business and bad for controlling the virus – we need to allow time for people to disperse over a longer period. Table service has been widely adopted in some parts of the sector since reopening but it is not necessary across all businesses, such as coffee shops.
'It is hard to understand how these measures are the solution to fighting the disease when Government data shows that just 5% of infections out of the home are related to hospitality,' she continued. 'Where such restrictions have been put in place locally they have not cut infection rates, merely damaged business and cost jobs.
'Most critically, Government needs to recognise this will damage confidence even further and it is now inevitable that the sector will struggle long into 2021. A new support package is now essential. We need to see an early signal that the vat cut will be extended through to the end of 2021; that the business rates holiday will continue next year; and an enhanced employment support package specifically for hospitality.
'We agree with the Government that we are all in this together. Hospitality has played its part by investing in Covid-secure venues and reassuring their customers. Now, it’s time for Government to demonstrate its commitment to the sector and its recovery – hundreds of thousands of livelihoods depend upon it.'