Face masks will become compulsory for bar staff, , waiters and customers in an effort to combat the rise in coronavirus cases in England, the prime minister has announced, and as also confirmed a 10 PM curfew for all pubs restaurants and bars from today Thursday, September 24 and has confirmed table service only for pubs bars and restaurants.
Fines for failing to wear a face mask will increase to £200 and will be extended to customers when they are not seated at a table, Boris Johnson told MPs.
Announcing the new coronavirus restrictions, the PM said the UK had reached a “perilous turning point” in its fight against COVID-19 and needed to “act now to avoid still graver consequences later on”.
The Prime Minister said “we must act from the virus being transmitted in bars and restaurants, will extend the requirements to wear face coverings to include staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink. In retail leisure and tourism and other sectors, our Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations. Businesses will be fined and could be closed if they breach rules”
“From Thursday all pubs bars and restaurants must operate table service only except takeaway’s. Together with all those menus they must close at 10 PM. To help police enforce this rule it means closing not just calling last orders because simplicity is paramount. The same will apply to takeaway is though deliveries continue thereafter” he added
He also warned that the measures could remain in place for as long as six months, declaring: “For the time being, this virus is a fact of our lives.”
The restrictions announced by the PM – who will address the nation from Number 10 later – are as follows:
- Office workers should work from home again where possible – although those in “key public services and in all professions” where this is not possible, such as construction and retail, should continue to go in. Mr Johnson later said that people should keep going in if it is important for their job, mental health or wellbeing
- From Thursday, all pubs, bars and restaurants must offer table service only and close at 10pm – but delivery services can remain open
- The requirement to wear a face covering has been extended to staff in retail, people in taxis and everyone using hospitality services
- Fines for not wearing a face covering will now double to £200 for a first offence
- COVID-secure guidelines will become a legal obligation for retail, leisure and tourism firms, with those who do not comply running the risk of fines of £10,000 or closure
- Only 15 people can now attend weddings, but 30 can still go to a funeral
- The “rule of six” has been extended to indoor sports teams, such as five-a-side football games
- The phased reopening of stadiums for sporting events from 1 October has been scrapped
Commenting on the announcement UKHospitality has called on the Government to deliver a package of support for hospitality.
The trade body has warned that job losses and business failures will be an inevitability unless support is immediate and wide-ranging.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “These restrictions are a further, potentially fatal, blow for many hospitality businesses. In isolation, they may appear moderate, but the cumulative effect is going to be hugely damaging. Consumer confidence is going to take another hit and we cannot hope to recover while confidence remains low.
“The shift back towards working from home is going to hit city centre hospitality very hard. These businesses have already lagged behind as office workers and tourists have stayed away and they are going to take another battering.
“Most disheartening is the announcement that they are potentially in place for six months. Lots of businesses will not survive this and we are going to see more and more people lose their jobs unless we have the support to counterbalance these restrictions.
“The Government must immediately announce an exhaustive package of financial support, otherwise our sector is facing ruin. Employment support must be extended. The furlough scheme is already wining down and it comes to a complete halt at the end of October. Unless it is extended for our sector, businesses are inevitably going to have to make staff redundant. We are looking at a steady stream of job losses for six months, otherwise.
“We also must have longer-term support to enable businesses to rebuild in 2021. The VAT cut for the sector must be extended as must the business rates holiday. We also need a rent-debt settlement package, otherwise whole businesses are going to go under with widespread redundancies.”