Hospitality in north of England face fresh restrictions with closures likely

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Hospitality in north of England to face fresh Coronavirus restrictions with pub and restaurant closures likely

Related tags: Coronavirus, lockdown, North England, Government

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is drawing up plans to impose further Coronavirus lockdown restrictions on pubs and restaurants across the north of England, with closures likely in many areas.

The Prime Minister is expected to follow Scotland’s lead and announce local lockdowns to curb soaring infection rates, with Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle likely to bear the brunt of the restrictions.

Under the plans, the Government will introduce a new lockdown system that divides England into three tiers of escalating severity.

The traffic-light-style system is designed to simplify local restrictions, with hospitality and leisure businesses in areas with the highest alert level ordered to close.

According to The Times​, Johnson signed off on the new system for England last night (7 October), with pubs and restaurants in northern England likely to be ordered to close on Monday (12 October).

The Prime Minster is also reported to have signed off a new financial package to help those impacted by the new restrictions, including wage support for employees of businesses forced back into lockdown.

Sky News​ understands that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is finalising a new, targeted package of Coronavirus support for the stricken hospitality industry, in response to demands from MPs and local government leaders.

The emergence of Johnson's plan comes as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon prepares to introduce significant new restrictions in Scotland​.

Hospitality businesses in central Scotland, including in Glasgow and Edinburgh, will be required to close for 16 days from Friday (9/10), with licensed premises across the rest of the country temporarily banned from selling alcohol indoors and subject to a 6pm curfew on indoor service.

Sturgeon described the measures as being intended to be a 'short, sharp action to arrest a worrying increase in infection', but she admitted that they would be disruptive to many businesses and would be unwelcome to many people.

Speaking on behalf of the Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG), which comprises nine of the country’s largest independent hospitality operators and collectively employ over 6,000 people, spokesperson Stephen Montgomery described the First Minister's plan as tantamount to 'signing a death sentence' for many businesses across the Scottish hospitality industry.

On Wednesday (7 October) the number of UK Coronavirus cases rose by 14,162, with a further 70 deaths reported.

Related topics: Business

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