Strict new curfews have come into force today in England meaning tens of thousands of businesses have to close at 10pm.
Pubs, restaurants, bingo halls, casinos and cafes are among the venues affected.
Those caught staying open beyond closing time face fines of up to £10,000 under new legislation which came into force at 5am today.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the move on Monday in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19, with the number of confirmed new infections reaching 6,178 yesterday.
Work canteens are also affected – unless they can show that there are no alternative options for staff.
Although cinemas and concert venues are affected by the curfew, they will be allowed to stay open beyond 10pm for performances to finish.
Films and concerts must have started by 10pm and bars have to close, however.
The new rules come on the same day the list of places where people have to wear face masks is also expanded.
Venues are restricted to table service to prevent people gathering in large groups at bars.
Businesses that have to close at 10pm
- Restaurants, including restaurants and dining rooms in hotels or members’ clubs
- Businesses providing food or drink prepared on the premises for immediate consumption off the premises
- Cafes, including workplace canteens (with some exceptions, listed below)
- Bars, including bars in hotels or members’ clubs
- Public houses
- Social clubs
- Bowling alleys
- Amusement arcades or other indoor leisure centres or facilities
- Funfairs (indoors or outdoors), theme parks and adventure parks and activities
- Bingo halls
- Concert halls
Businesses that are not included
- convenience stores, corner shops and newsagents
- pharmacists and chemists
- petrol stations
- cafes or canteens at a hospital, care home or school
- canteens at a prison or an establishment intended for use for naval, military or air force purposes or defence facilities
- services providing food or drink to the homeless
- Workplace canteens may remain open where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food
Businesses will be expected to clear out customers at 10pm, the government says.
Explaining the new rules, the Prime Minister told the House of Commons: “To help the police enforce this rule I’m afraid that means, alas, closing and not just calling for last orders because simplicity is paramount.
“The same will apply to takeaways, though deliveries can continue thereafter.
“I’m sorry this will affect many businesses getting back on their feet but we must act to stop the virus from being transmitted in bars and restaurants.”
The hospitality industry warns that the curfew could cause job losses.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality said: “A hard close time is bad for business and bad for controlling the virus – we need to allow time for people to disperse over a longer period.
“Table service has been widely adopted in some parts of the sector since reopening but it is not necessary across all businesses, such as coffee shops.
“It is hard to understand how these measures are the solution to fighting the disease when Government data shows that just 5% of infections out of the home are related to hospitality.
“Where such restrictions have been put in place locally they have not cut infection rates, merely damaged business and cost jobs.”