“The purpose of these measures is to bring the virus under control,” Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told Sky News. “The point of moving to this tiered system is that in the most affected areas we have measures in place to control the virus. ”
Dowden said academic research has shown the risk of spreading the virus to be higher in hospitality settings such as bars and restaurants. He said he hoped the measures would get the virus under control by Christmas or sooner.
But hospitality companies say they are being pushed to collapse by government restrictions.
New “catastrophic” measures
The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), a UK trade body, told Reuters on Sunday that the industry had taken legal action to prevent the imposition of lockdowns.
“The industry has no choice but to legally challenge the rhetoric of the government’s so-called ‘common sense’ approach to the implementation of new restrictions in the north of England,” said Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA, in an email.
“These new measures will have a catastrophic impact on late-night businesses and are further compounded by an insufficient financial support program,” the statement said.
After being criticized for mixed messages as the number of coronavirus cases and deaths rise, Johnson will once again travel to Parliament and the country to ask for support for a new approach to stem the spread.
Britain registered 12,872 new cases on Sunday and officially recorded 42,825 deaths.
The north of England was hit particularly hard by a new wave that forced local closings as students returned to schools and universities.
Liverpool Mayor Steve Rotherham said on Sunday the government wanted to place his city and surrounding area in the most severely restricted category, noting that measures that would apply there had not yet been agreed.
“Of course, it’s very difficult for people,” he said. “The measures we take have a bad impact on health, they have a bad impact on the economy, but in the end, it’s better to do it than to let the virus get out of hand. ”
Johnson, under pressure from parts of his Conservative Party over some COVID-19 measures, is reluctant to repeat a nationwide lockdown that would further hurt a struggling economy, but has been urged to act by medical authorities.