The UK government has made two major decisions in the last 24 hours that will have a significant impact on the hospitality industry, which may trickle down the catering equipment supply chain.
Yesterday afternoon, health secretary Matt Hancock announced that all restaurants in the Bolton area were immediately restricted to offering a takeaway service only, in an effort to curb a coronavirus spike which has seen 120 cases per 100,000 people – the highest in the country.
As well as prohibiting dine-in, the new measures include a 10pm-5am curfew on all hospitality venues in the town.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Hancock said: “Unfortunately, after improving for several weeks, we have seen a very significant and concerning rise in cases in Bolton. Working with the local council, we are taking further local action.
“I want to say directly to everyone living in Bolton: I know how anxious this can be and I know the impact that these measures will have but we need to take this crucial step to keep this virus at bay.”
These local restrictions were rapidly followed up last night by the announcement of a ban in England on socialising with more than six people outside a single household. The new measures are set to come into force on Monday, amid a steep rise in national Covid-19 cases over the past week.
The latest step will be legally binding and will apply indoors or outdoors. It will be enforced through a £100 fine if people fail to comply, doubling on each offence up to a maximum of £3,200.
However, there will be exemptions for schools, workplaces or Covid-secure weddings, funerals and organised team sports.
Track and trace will also become compulsory for hospitality businesses when the new restrictions enter into force.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today Programme, Hancock said that every venue will be required to take customer contact details to help stop the spread of the virus.
Previously, adopting track and trace had been voluntary, with some businesses choosing not to take details.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be detailing the extra measures in a press conference today at 4pm.