10pm curfew in England sees drinkers behave responsibly on first night of new coronavirus rules

Coronavirus – Thu Sep 24, 2020 Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Would-be late-night drinkers in England have faced the first evening of new measures aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.

From Thursday, all pubs, bars and restaurants had to shut by 10pm – meaning time at the bar will be somewhere around 9pm.

Many people were not put off a midweek tipple or two by the new restrictions on Thursday, with pub-goers still heading to Soho, central London.

A small police presence could be seen on the pedestrianised streets but no problems were reported.

The Metropolitan Police said Commissioner Cressida Dick was out on patrol in Shoreditch, a popular nighttime area, with local officers “who were engaging with members of the public, to remind them of their responsibility to keep themselves and others safe to minimise the spread”.

The force said it would step up its enforcement of Covid regulations in response to the changes and rising rates of infection in the capital.

“Londoners should expect to see police officers engaging with members of the public to remind them of their responsibility to keep themselves and others safe.

“Working with local authorities and other partners, the focus will be on public spaces with high footfall – where people are most likely to come into contact with each other and therefore the risk of transmission is increased.”

Wolverhampton Police posted a video on Twitter thanking the public for complying with the new regulations, saying all venues had shut at 10pm.

The mood was jubilant for some drinkers in Brighton, with the new curfew not preventing at least one birthday celebration.

Along with the 10pm closing times, all hospitality venues must now be table service only to try to help contain the spread of Covid-19.

People leave a Wetherspoons pub in Brighton as the curfew comes into place Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

The rules for England contrast with those in Wales, where pub-goers will be given an extra 20 minutes to finish their drinks after last orders.

From 6pm on Thursday, changes to coronavirus regulations mean Welsh hospitality businesses including pubs, cafes, restaurants, sports clubs and casinos must not supply alcohol between 10pm and 6am the following day.

Licensed premises will only be able to provide table service for customers when consuming food or drink – and following a 20-minute period to allow customers to finish their drinks at 10pm – must close by 10.20pm.