'Hospitality is still the band on the Titanic. It’s just that in this version the captain and crew are telling the passengers the band put the iceberg there, instead of sorting out the lifeboats'

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Pubs and restaurants in the North of England are set to close From Monday 12th October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce.

Pubs and restaurants in Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle upon Tyne could be closed in a bid to curtail a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, as the government rolls-out a three tier system - the 'Local Covid Alert Level'  - to manage infection hotspots by simplifying rules and their oversight. 

The North of England is to be placed in the highest tier of alert as hospitals are already close to capacity in terms of dedicated Covid beds, but other locations in the Midlands and Wales are also areas of concern.

Though government sources told the BBC that no decisions have been made yet, The Times reports that the it was signed by the Prime Minister last night, and will come into effect on Monday. 

Meanwhile, according to BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, a formal announcement is not likely to come until Monday.

The news follows on recent lockdown measures announced by the first minister to come into force in Scotland on Friday - including a shutdown of all hospitality businesses in the central belt and reduced operating hours elsewhere, with a ban on alcohol sales.

The likelihood of a lockdown of the hospitality industry is high, however Boris Johnson faces a rebellion from MPs and local leaders in the North West and North East, as the hospitality industry has been decimated by coronavirus-related restrictions. 

The three-tier local lockdown system is set to come into force next week. In plans signed off on Tuesday (6 October)

  • Tier one will see current social distancing measures, the “rule of six” and a pub curfew of 10pm enforced.
  • Tier two will have the same restrictions plus a ban on households mixing.
  • In Tier three - likely to affect businesses in the North West and the North East - pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses will be shut. People will not be able to mix households and will have to abide by the national social distancing laws.

​​​​​In all three tiers, schools, workplaces and shops will stay open.

While Ministers are still working out other details, the measures will likely be imposed for a predefined period of some weeks. 

On the possibility of additional restrictions for some parts of England, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told the BBC the government was "currently considering what steps to take" and the precise measures for different areas would be announced "in the coming days".

He did not rule out pubs being closed but said measures would be "proportionate and localised".

He explained that the new measures would give "greater consistency on rules so they're easier to understand" and that the government was working on "slightly broader canvases of regions or cities and counties to avoid differences in people's daily lives if they drive over the border".

As for compensation for businesses - as Nicola Sturgeon promised a £40 million budget which will see the Scottish government absorb the cost of furlough for businesses in some instances, amongst other "targeted" measures - it is understood that Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will introduce a new form of furlough for Tier 3 businesses. 

What's more, police forces in England and Wales are being given an extra £30m by the government to enforce coronavirus restrictions, with another £30m given to local councils to employ Covid marshals to help ensure rules are being followed.

Backlash from the sector is likely - having suffered months of losses and the ever-growing rate of casualties from restaurant chains to Michelin-starred establishments.


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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 8th October 2020

'Hospitality is still the band on the Titanic. It’s just that in this version the captain and crew are telling the passengers the band put the iceberg there, instead of sorting out the lifeboats'