Coronavirus: The new rules for pubs happening this week

Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has announced a raft of new measures in a bid to get Covid-19 transmission under control without resorting to a national lockdown.

With socialising blamed for the surge in infections, the hospitality sector has been hit with much of the latest restrictions.

Here’s what you need to know.

What’s the current situation?

Some of the UK’s most senior scientists made some dire warnings on Monday and the threat level was ramped up to level four, meaning transmission “is high or rising exponentially”.

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned we could be facing 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid-October and a daily death toll of 200 by mid-November unless rapid action is taken.

Closing times

From Thursday evening, all pubs, bars, restaurants and other venues in England will be required to close by 10pm.

The 10pm curfew, used elsewhere in local lockdowns, will be rolled out across the country to try to prevent alcohol-fuelled breaches of social distancing rules.

In Scotland the 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants comes into effect from Friday.

In Wales the same restrictions apply as of 10pm from Thursday and the same cut-off time will apply to the sale of alcohol from off-licences and supermarkets.

No propping up the bar

You will not be able to sit by the bar. Credit: Yui Mok/PA

Say goodbye to your favourite bar stool for a while – from Thursday evening all sectors of the hospitality industry will be restricted by law to table service only.

Maintaining social distancing when the bar queue is 3ft deep at last orders was always going to be a challenge.

Keep washing those hands

As more measures are announced, the government are still hammering home its “hands, face, space” message as the most effective form of virus control.

The prime minister has urged the nation to stick to social distancing, regular hand washing and wearing face coverings in a bid to avoid a second national lockdown.

What happens next?

Boris Johnson has meetings ahead. Credit: PA

The PM had two big meetings lined up on Tuesday to figure out how far the UK needs to go to try to get the spread of the virus under control before the colder weather hits.

He will set out guidance once again to the public in a televised speech at 8pm on Tuesday.

What does the government say?

The government knows that this extra blow to hospitality – especially after so much was spent on trying to support it through the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme – will be a bitter pill to swallow.

A spokesman for Number 10 said: “No-one underestimates the challenges the new measures will pose to many individuals and businesses.

“We know this won’t be easy, but we must take further action to control the resurgence in cases of the virus and protect the NHS.”