Speaking in the House of commons today (22 September), the Prime Minister announced changes to the rules over face masks that make it compulsory for restaurant and bar staff to now wear them.
Customers entering and leaving restaurants and pubs or walking around a premises will also be required to wear a face mask, but are permitted to remove it when they begin eating and drinking.
Fines for people failing to wear a face mask will rise to £200 under the new rules and will be applicable to customers when they are not seated at a table.
The announcement comes on the heels of the new ruling that pubs and restaurants across England must close by 10pm from this Thursday (24 September) under new attempts to curb the spread of Coronavirus. Takeaway services, however, will be able to operate beyond the 10pm curfew.
From Thursday, all restaurants, bars and pubs will only be able to offer table service under the new ruling.
In a response to questioning of the Government’s decision to introduce the 10pm curfew that will no doubt anger the hospitality sector, Johnson said: “These are not easy decisions. Nobody wants to be curtailing the right of restaurants and other businesses to go about their lawful business.
“What we have seen from the evidence is that, alas, the spread of the disease does tend to happen later at night after more alcohol has been consumed. This is one way that we see of driving down the arc without doing excessive economic damage.”
Earlier this week hospitality leaders pointed to Public Health England data that shows that out of 729 new incidents reported in week 37, just 34 were linked to food outlet or restaurant settings.
The decisions come as Johnson said he was so far ruling out implementing a second national lockdown. “The whole objective is to avoid a second national lockdown, nobody wants to see that,” he said.