Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to announce today that pubs and restaurants in England will be ordered to have a 10pm closing time.
He will outline the steps, set to come into force from Thursday as part of new measures to halt the spread of coronavirus, in the House of Commons this afternoon before addressing the nation in a live broadcast at 8pm this evening.
Hospitality venues will also be restricted by law to table service only.
All of these measures are aimed at reducing the window for coronavirus transmissions within pubs and restaurants, though there are conflicting reports as to how many current cases were due to transmission in these settings.
But ministers are understood to hope that enforcing the earlier closing time, along with the rule of six, will act as a warning to the public that efforts to curb the virus need to be stepped up.
Yesterday, the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, warned there could be 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid-October without intervention. The UK’s Covid-19 alert level also moved to 4, meaning transmission is “high or rising exponentially”.
Minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Gove, also spoke on BBC Breakfast this morning about further general restrictions, saying: “If people can work from home, then they should.”
Furthermore, he suggested that the government is rethinking its strategy on holding pilot events in sporting stadia, outlining: “We are looking at how we can pause that programme.”