Fury as government is expected to order northern pubs to shut

Landlords’ fury at plans to ‘order pubs to shut but allow restaurants to stay OPEN until 10pm’ in new lockdown for North

  • Boris Johnson’s expected clampdown would see pubs ordered to shut in North
  • Restaurants would be allowed to stay open until the 10pm curfew, reports say
  • Similar restrictions will be announced in Nottinghamshire as well as Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Newcastle
  • Local leaders blasted Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s ‘kick in the teeth’ bailouts 

Landlords are furious with Boris Johnson’s expected plans to order pubs to shut across northern England in a new coronavirus clampdown while restaurants can stay open until 10pm.

The Government’s new regime would see hospitality taking another hit as local restrictions would see pubs and bars in Merseyside and other parts of the North ordered to shut their doors. In a sign of official confusion, however, restaurants will be allowed to remain open until the curfew.

Similar measures are expected to be announced in Nottinghamshire as well as Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Newcastle, while the rules will be reviewed after a month.

Some local leaders have blasted Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s furlough-style bailout scheme to alleviate the financial damage of more restrictions, calling the programme a ‘kick in the teeth’ which would not prevent businesses from going to the wall.

In a joint statement, the mayors of Greater Manchester, the Sheffield and Liverpool city regions and North Tyne said: ‘What has been announced by the chancellor today is a start but, on first look, it would not appear to have gone far enough to prevent genuine hardship, job losses and business failure this winter.’

Industry experts also denounced the package, with Greg Mulholland of the Campaign for Pubs saying: ‘The level of support announced by the Chancellor is nowhere enough to compensate pubs being forced to close.

‘Many publicans will be forced into even more debt just to survive. There is real anger when pubs have been working hard to operate safely.’

It comes as the Government is expected to unveil a ‘three-tier’ lockdown system on Monday. On another day of the coronavirus crisis: 

  • Doctors warn face masks should be mandatory inside and outside in England to curb the spread of infections;
  • A think-tank warns furlough mark two could cost the Treasury more than £2.4billion in six months as it estimates 444,000 hospitality employees will qualify for the scheme; 
  • Revellers are filmed spilling into London’s Leicester Square and dancing together with no regard for social distancing measures after 10pm curfew; 
  • London Mayor Sadiq Khan warns the capital could face tougher restrictions as leafy Richmond becomes the worst-hit borough – but one report suggests the R rate in the city is below 1;
  • Scottish drinkers have been making the most of their last day at the bar before pubs shut down at 6pm for two weeks in a bid to crackdown on coronavirus.

Landlords are furious with Boris Johnson’s expected plans to order pubs to shut across northern England in a new coronavirus clampdown while restaurants can stay open until 10pm (pictured, revellers in Liverpool after closing time in the city centre)

The Government’s new regime would see hospitality taking another hit as local restrictions would see pubs and bars in Merseyside and other parts of the North ordered to shut their doors. In a sign of official confusion, however, restaurants will be allowed to remain open until the curfew (pictured, a deserted Mathew Street in Liverpool city centre)

It comes amid fears that coronavirus cases are rising in the North of England as a result of young people going to hospitality venues. However, MPs have accused public health officials of ‘cherry-picking’ data retrospectively to justify their closure of pubs and bars

Meanwhile, Chris Snowdon, from the Institute of Economic Affairs, told MailOnline any tightening of restrictions involving the closure of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants will be ‘counter-productive’.

He pointed to the situation in Bolton, where cases have rocketed by 39 per cent over the past seven days to 250 per 100,000 despite heightened restrictions on hospitality.

‘I suspect that a lot of the transmission in recent weeks is from private gatherings, many of which are technically illegal,’ he said, referring to infections across the whole country.

‘The 10pm closing time led to more house parties, less social distancing. I don’t think pubs being closed is going to stop people meeting for a drink.’

He added: ‘It’s interesting that local leaders are opposed to these measures. We’ve also seen this in Spain where the Madrid Government is fighting the Spanish Government.

‘We don’t know what the (UK Government) announcement is going to be yet, but you’re always going to get cases where you have badly affected regions or towns where infections are going up sharply but have places where infections are low.

‘When you take a broad brush you are going to negatively affect people who are not enjoying any of the benefits. But the Government has decided it wants to simplify the equation.’

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, doubted whether locking down will have ‘any material impact at all on transmission’. 

Similar measures are expected to be announced in Nottinghamshire as well as Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Newcastle, while the rules will be reviewed after a month (pictured, the Social Bar closing up after the 6pm curfew in Glasgow)

Some local leaders have blasted Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s furlough-style bailout scheme to alleviate the financial damage of more restrictions, calling the programme a ‘kick in the teeth’ which would not prevent businesses from going to the wall (pictured, Liverpool revellers)

‘We do still have serious questions over the effectiveness such lockdowns will have in stopping the spread of the virus,’ she said.

‘The latest Covid-19 surveillance report from PHE today shows just 30 incidents of Covid-19 were from hospitality settings. NHS Test and Trace numbers linked to pubs across the UK remain exceptionally low. 

‘Based on these insights we must ask why the Government isn’t taking evidence-based, proportionate measures to tackle the virus?

‘It remains the case there is no hard evidence as yet to suggest that pubs, with their strict adherence to Government guidelines, are unsafe, making it unclear if local lockdowns, or indeed the 10pm curfew, will have any material impact at all on transmission.

‘The Government must review its measures on a regular basis and commit to removing them if they are found not to effectively reduce the spread of the virus.’ 

The Cavern Club in Liverpool, as drinkers stay at home and follow coronavirus restrictions

Boards put up on the windows of The Piper Bar shortly after the 6pm curfew, in Glasgow, as pubs and licensed restaurants across central Scotland have begun their 16-day closure

Doctors say masks should be mandatory inside AND outside 

Face masks should be made mandatory outdoors as well as indoors and in workplaces where social distancing cannot be practiced, top doctors have warned.

The British Medical Association suggests that those older than 60, or who are obese or have other health conditions making them vulnerable to coronavirus should be supplied with ‘medical grade’ masks, in line with WHO guidance.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, its chairman, said the Government’s measures to suppress Covid-19 are not working and called for further measures including a restriction of alcohol sales in England and a tightening of the Rule of Six to limit the number of households which can mingle to two

He also warned the public is in danger of losing faith in existing restrictions, and urged for face masks to be worn outdoors where people cannot keep two metres apart — including in offices and other workplaces.

Face masks are already compulsory on public transport, railways stations and airports, shops, and cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants before being seated.

The BMA boss told The Times: ‘It cannot be easy for the public to understand what will make a difference if they’re told to wear a mask in one setting, but then it’s not required in another.

‘It’s clear that most workplaces were never designed for people to work two metres apart. The rules should be absolutely that where you are likely to interact with one another within two metres, you wear a mask indoors.

Meanwhile local leaders have urged the Government not to punish the North East of England with stringent lockdown restrictions forcing the closure of pubs and bars, as it is claimed the number of daily new coronavirus infections in the region has begun to fall.

Draconian measures saw almost two million Britons barred from mixing with others from outside their household in private homes, gardens, pubs and restaurants on September 18. 

But Gateshead council leader Martin Gannon has claimed today that – when students are removed from the figures – the number of new cases in Newcastle and Gateshead is now starting to drop.

‘We have evidence in the region – if you take the spike in students out – even in central Newcastle and central Gateshead we’re beginning to see a reduction in the number of new cases,’ he said. ‘What we’re saying is the measures are working at the moment.’

Gateshead recorded a 72 per cent spike in its infection rate over the last seven days, according to Public Health England’s weekly surveillance report, rising from 129.4 to 221.7 cases per 100,000 people. In Newcastle the rate rose by 90 per cent, from 250.5 to 475 per 100,000.

Official Government data shows that the number of positive cases identified each day in the local areas appears to be declining. But experts have warned this may be due to delays in processing swabs, with labs only processing tests up to three days after they were taken.

More than 1,800 students tested positive for the virus in the North East on Thursday, with 1,003 at Newcastle University, 619 at Northumbria University and 219 at Durham University. They have been asked to quarantine inside their halls of residence. 

The Prime Minister’s chief strategic adviser Sir Edward Lister wrote to northern MPs following a meeting with leaders from the North on Friday to warn it was ‘very likely’ the region would be hit with tougher coronavirus restrictions. 

But northern leaders have complained they have not been consulted and said that more restrictions will lead to further ‘resistance and confusion’. 

Raising the alarm over tougher lockdown restrictions, Gateshead leader Mr Gannon told the Today programme they are fighting against tightened rules because the evidence suggests current measures are stemming the rising tide of infections. 

‘We’re opposing further restrictions in the North East on the basis of the scientific evidence,’ he said.

Britain is back where it was in MARCH: Deputy chief medical officer warns UK hospitals are seeing similar number of Covid patients to those at outbreak 

The Government’s deputy chief medical officer has claimed the UK is nearly back to where it was in March as hospital admissions for coronavirus surged by 50 per cent in a week in England. 

Jonathan Van-Tam told MPs that intensive care units in the North West could be full within three weeks as the latest figures show there are now 3,090 Covid-19 patients being treated in English hospitals. This is just seven fewer than on March 23, when the national lockdown was imposed.

On Wednesday, 491 new patients were admitted to hospitals, close to the 586 on March 19 — the week before Boris Johnson gave his ‘stay at home’ order.

During that time the average number of daily admissions has surged from 285 to 441, showing that hospitalisations are picking up now that the number of cases is hitting high levels. 

Hospital admissions could be doubling every week in the North West as Professor Van-Tam said the region’s intensive care beds were ‘two to three doubling times’ away from capacity.

Yesterday Britain recorded 13,864 cases and 87 deaths, compared with just 74 deaths on March 19. At the time, the coronavirus epidemic was doubling every three or four days.

Official figures released yesterday indicate that the true figure of infections doubled in a week to 45,000 a day amid fears the outbreak is ‘getting out of control’.  

The North is being hit disproportionately hard and accounted for 60 per cent of hospitalisations on that day, which is the most recent data available.

With the Midlands included, areas outside of the South account for around three quarters of admissions, again drawing a line through the North-South divide.

‘We have evidence in the region – there is a spike in students but if you take the students out – even in central Newcastle and central Gateshead – we’re beginning to see a reduction in the number of new cases.

‘So our argument is that even with the mixed messaging, even with the confusion and frustration, the measures that are in at the moment are beginning to work.

He pleaded: ‘Work with us, give us more time, help us to win confidence and persuade people – those really good people in Newcastle who want to do the right thing.’

The Labour leader also revealed he had a meeting with senior Government advisers and 40 other North East leaders this week to discuss the new restrictions, but no national politicians were present.

He said they made ‘very clear arguments’ to halt the closure of hospitality venues on the basis of evidence they had gathered.

‘I think new measures would be counter-productive,’ he said. ‘We had three different sets of regulations in 10 days which caused huge resistance and confusion.

‘Our argument is that even with the mixed messaging, even with the confusion and frustration, the measures that are in at the moment are beginning to work.’ 

It comes after the Mayor of Liverpool slammed ‘Saint’ Rishi Sunak’s new furlough scheme as ‘not generous’ and accused him of treating the North of England with ‘disdain’.

Under furlough mark two, workers can claim two-thirds of their wages up to £2,100 from the UK Government if coronavirus restrictions require their employers to pull down the shutters.

But Mayor Joe Anderson today blasted the scheme for not going far enough, and criticised it for being lower than the previous bail-out package.

Mr Gannon echoed his concerns, warning many people working in pubs, bars and restaurants – which are likely to be asked to close – will struggle to ‘put food on the table’ with just two-thirds of their wages. 

Hammering the Government for not going far enough, Labour party member Anderson told the Today programme: ‘(The new furlough scheme) is not generous at all, it is indeed lower than the previous furlough scheme that was introduced.

‘I just wonder that if this was in Southern areas of the country, or in London, whether  it would be at this level and not at a different level. We feel, I feel personally, that the North is being treated with disdain by this Government.

‘But I guess, when you look at it, it’s better than nothing and the pressure that we’ve put on the last few weeks demanded some local furlough scheme. At least it’s now being heard’.

Gateshead council leader Martin Gannon has revealed cases are falling in the North East

He warned the city would likely be plunged into a ‘tier-three’ lockdown under plans to be announced by Boris Johnson on Monday. This would see the closure of pubs and bars, he said, but restaurants would be allowed to stay open until 10pm.

Liverpool’s infection rate spiked 116 per cent in the last week, according to figures compiled by Public Health England, rising from 239.3 to 517.4 cases per 100,000 people. 

Labour council leader Gannon, who represents Gateshead in the North East of England, warned this morning the new furlough would fail to help families.

He told the Today programme: ‘I know people who work in the hospitality sector and even on full pay they struggle to put food on the table for their families.

‘For Rishi Sunak, I mean he may be able to live on two-thirds of his salary, you and I, we would be able to live on two-thirds of our salary, but for many of those people who work in the hospitality sector they can’t comply with requirements. They’re not going to obey the law on the basis of two-thirds of their salary.’ 


The Imperial College London-led REACT study (left) estimates that more than 0.6 per cent of the population of England had coronavirus in the week up to October 5, while the ONS (right) puts the figure at around 0.41 per cent for the week ending October 1

Data shows in Fallowfield in Manchester – a thriving student suburb of the city – five per cent of people tested positive for the disease in the week ending October 2

Britain’s coronavirus reproduction rate has fallen slightly, according to the Government’s scientific advisers. They say the current R value – the number of people each Covid-19 patient infects – is between 1.2 and 1.5. This is down slightly on last week’s range of 1.3 and 1.


Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson slammed the Government for bringing forward a furlough scheme that was ‘not generous’ enough

Meanwhile, the leaders of West Yorkshire councils warned another lockdown will have a ‘devastating’ effect on the town and city centres and regional economy.

In a joint letter to the Chancellor and health and housing secretaries on Friday, the leaders said that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement that workers in businesses which are forced to close under the new restrictions will have two-thirds of their wages paid by the Government was ‘not enough’.

They added: ‘Government must, for both levels two and three, provide a substantial economic package including grants and furlough – not just where businesses are mandated to close.

‘In a three-level approach, there must be significantly more support available to businesses in areas that are in either level two or level three to avoid an even deeper economic catastrophe.’  

Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds has said that the North of England feels ‘forgotten’ due to the incoming new restrictions.

‘We’ve currently got one in four people living under localised restrictions and yet coming from the Government’s side, for example what the Chancellor’s being setting out, often it’s as if those restrictions are not in place anywhere.’The Chancellor didn’t mention the situation in the North and the Midlands at all in his conference speech. I had to track him, in fact one of his ministers came to talk in parliament. But some of those areas have been under restrictions for a really long time.’

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