U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a 10:00PM curfew for bars, restaurants, and nightclubs on Tuesday. The decision came after the country saw nearly 5,000 newly reported cases of COVID-19 in one day.
With confirmed cases on the rise as of late, the U.K. government saw fit to enact an order that will limit interactions in some of the country’s most social landscapes. Bars and pubs were the main focus. Those establishments will now be required to remain closed nightly from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM each day. Furthermore, socially distanced seating and a limit of six persons per table or area must be mandated by each business.
The government had also planned to allow trial runs for events with live audiences, but that plan has now been postponed in light of the new order. Johnson said that the guidance could remain in effect for “perhaps six months,” depending on which way the curve turns. Currently, workers are encouraged to work from home if possible, and weddings and funerals also have guidelines for an attendance limit.
Clubs and venues had previously been allowed to reopen in accordance with all prior social distancing and capacity mandates, but most of them feel that the new order will impact their programming and operations. Schedules will now have to be changed and staff will potentially lose out on more work hours, which could potentially spell financial trouble for both businesses and individuals.
Many public figures and social media voices have already communicated their opinions on the new curfew. With most expressing distaste, and some claiming that the decision was made with no scientific evidence of a positive effect, it remains to be seen how long the U.K. will continue forward with the mandate.
In early September, the U.K. saw a rise in COVID-19 cases, from 500 to 1,000 reported daily throughout the summer, to double that number. More recently, newly reported cases have hovered just under 4,000 per day.
Image credit: Alexander Popov