England to require 22 hours earlier closure for pubs and restaurants after virus spike

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a service to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain at Westminster Abbey in London, Britain September 20, 2020. Aaron Chown / PA Wire / Pool via REUTERS / Files

LONDON (Reuters) – All pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues across England are to start closing at 10 p.m. on Thursday as Prime Minister Boris Johnson tackles a second wave of COVID infections -19.

Johnson, who will address both Parliament and the nation on Tuesday, will also say the hospitality industry will be limited by law to table service only, according to excerpts from his remarks provided by his Downing Street office Monday.

“No one underestimates the challenges that the new measures will pose for many individuals and businesses. We know it won’t be easy, but we need to take further action to control the resurgence of virus cases and protect the NHS, ”he will say.

Shares of listed UK pubs and restaurant groups fell sharply on Monday in anticipation of the move. While there is no consistent policy for the country, the move will bring the closing time forward by at least an hour for most areas.

Britain will face an exponential death rate from COVID-19 within weeks unless urgent action is taken to stop a second wave of the rapidly spreading epidemic, the country’s doctors warned on Monday.

The COVID-19 alert level also fell from Level 3 to Level 4 after data showed the number of cases was rising rapidly. Level 4 indicates the virus is in general circulation and transmission is high or increasing exponentially.

The new rules represent another step backwards in Britain’s recovery from a pandemic that has inflicted more deaths and more economic damage on the country than its European peers and has drawn widespread criticism of Johnson’s leadership.

On Monday, Northern Ireland announced it would extend existing restrictions in some localities to households mixing indoors across the province from Tuesday, while Wales slapped curbs on four other areas . Scotland said further restrictions would almost certainly be imposed.

Johnson will address the nation at 7:00 p.m. GMT on other means of confronting the virus.

Reporting by James Davey; Edited by Cynthia Osterman

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