London lockdown: Sadiq Khan calls for immediate end to 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants

·2-min read
Streets empty in London’s Soho as 10pm curfew bites (Getty Images)
Streets empty in London’s Soho as 10pm curfew bites (Getty Images)

London mayor Sadiq Khan has called for the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants to be lifted in the capital.

Mr Khan said that now London is under tier 2 restrictions, which bar households from mixing in any indoor place, there is no longer a justification for forcing hospitality venues to close early.

He said that immediately lifting the curfew would allow more households to eat out and help preserve thousands of hospitality businesses, while ending scenes of crowded streets and public transport as time is called simultaneously in pubs across the city.

The England-wide early closing order for pubs, bars and restaurants came into effect on 24 September, with prime minister Boris Johnson warning at the time that it could last as long as six months.

Watch: How will England’s three-tier lockdown system work?

The PM argued that drinkers were increasingly unlikely to observe social distancing guidelines the later they stayed in bars, so early closing would help damp down surging infection rates.

But Mr Khan said that the imposition of tier 2 restrictions in London on Saturday meant that different households or support bubbles will no longer be mingling in restaurants or bars, removing the danger that they might pass on the disease.

In a statement, he said: “I have said for a while that the current curfew rule needs to be rapidly reviewed. We saw the worrying consequences of increased social mixing on the streets and on public transport in the capital around 10pm immediately after its introduction.

“Now London and other parts of the country have moved into tier 2 and higher restrictions, which prohibit household mixing, the current 10pm curfew policy makes even less sense and should be scrapped.

“Immediately scrapping the 10pm curfew would allow more sittings of single households in restaurants throughout the evening, helping with cashflow at a time when venues need all the support they can get.”

Tier 2 restrictions are currently in place in London, the northeast, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Cheshire, most of Essex and the West Midlands and parts of Derbyshire, Cumbria and Surrey.

Greater Manchester - in tier 2 at the time of Mr Khan’s statement - is expected shortly to join Merseyside and Lancashire in tier 3, where pubs are banned from opening unless they are serving as restaurants.

Watch: Can you catch Covid twice?

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