Friday Five: the week's top news

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Friday Five: the week's top news

Related tags: Coronavirus

Another tumultuous week for the hospitality sector saw restaurants and pubs in Northern Ireland ordered to close for four weeks, and a three-tier Coronavirus alert system introduced across England.

- Restaurants and pubs in Northern Ireland must close for four weeks​ from today (16 October) under tough new 'circuit breaker' restrictions. The measures were announced earlier this week by First Minister Arlene Foster in an address to the Northern Ireland Assembly in Stormont. A complete closure of the hospitality sector, apart from for deliveries and takeaways, is among the new restrictions being imposed by the executive. Fast-food and takeaway premises continuing to operate will also be subject to an 11pm curfew. Other measures announced include ordering off-licences and supermarkets to not sell alcohol beyond 8pm; a complete shutdown of 'close-contact services' apart from those meeting essential health needs; and a ban on indoor sport of any kind.

- Boris Johnson has set out a new alert system to deal with local outbreaks of Coronavirus in England​, which divides the country into three tiers of escalating severity – ‘medium’, ‘high’, and ‘very high’. In areas labelled ‘very high’ risk, the majority of pubs and bars will be ordered to close and social mixing between households will be banned indoors and outdoors. However, restaurants and any pubs or bars that are able to 'operate as if they were a restaurant' and serve 'substantial' meals will be allowed to remain open under the highest tier. Initially, only the Liverpool City Region faced the highest level of restrictions​ as a result of the rising number of Coronavirus cases in the area. However, it was confirmed on Friday (16 October) that Lancashire would also be moved into the 'very high' risk tier​. Having originally been placed in the lowest or 'medium' tier, London has now had its alert level raised to 'high'​ in move that will impact over 10,000 hospitality venues.

- Fast casual sausage specialist Herman ze German has announced the permanent closure of its entire London estate​. The group, which operated four sites across the capital in Soho, Charing Cross, Fitzrovia and White City, said the decision to close is a result of the financial hit taken during the Coronavirus pandemic coupled with the forthcoming end of the Brexit transition period in late December. In a statement posted to its Instagram page, the group said: "Sadly we have to announce that after more than 10 wonderful years in London, Herman ze German will permanently close all London locations. Covid-19 has hit us really hard, as it probably has most of you too. Knowing that Brexit will follow at the end of this year, we had no other choice but to pull the plug. There is no way for us to go any further with the restaurants in the UK. We are extremely gutted as we put our heart and soul into this project, delivering you our delicious Currywurst and German beers. And we loved it!"

- Pub and brewery group Marston's is to cut up to 2,150 jobs​ as a direct result of the impact caused by the Government's new Coronavirus restrictions. The group said that the introduction of the curfew, coupled with the effects of the new three-tier alert system in England and the tighter restrictions recently imposed on Scotland, had damaged consumer confidence and undermined its efforts to reopen following the nationwide lockdown. Describing the measures as 'hugely disappointing', the company said that 'inevitably and regrettably' it would have to make cuts. "Because of the recent additional restrictions, we have reluctantly concluded that around 2,150 pub-based roles currently subject to furlough are going to be impacted," Marston's said. "Furthermore, we have initiated a full review of overhead costs which will be concluded by the end of December."

- Members of the hospitality industry will converge on Parliament Square next week to peacefully protest the restrictions being imposed on businesses​ in the sector. Organised by long-standing industry marketer Rachel Harty, HospoDemo demonstrators will urge the Government to rethink its policies relating to hospitality venues, both in terms of restrictions being placed on businesses and the level of industry-specific support available to help compensate them. The protest will take place at 10:30am on Monday 19 October. Demonstrators from all corners of the industry will come together to represent their trades, dressed in uniform, and equipped with pots, pans, ladles, cocktail shakers, wooden spoons and other hospitality-related props with which to make themselves heard. Expected attendees will include Jason Atherton, Tom Aikens and Jillian Maclean. All attendees have been advised to adhere to social distancing measures and to come wearing a face covering.

Check below for more of this week's headlines, or click here​.

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