Curfew for north east pubs in 'compromise' with businesses

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Details to come: a curfew for pubs and bars in areas of the north east will be outlined later today
Details to come: a curfew for pubs and bars in areas of the north east will be outlined later today

Related tags: Newcastle, North east, Coronavirus, Legislation, Health and safety

A 10pm curfew on pubs and bars in areas of the North East has been confirmed in an endeavour to tackle rising coronavirus cases.

Newcastle City Council has confirmed it will introduce temporary restrictions in the region, with health officials to lay out more details later this morning (Thursday 17 September).

The new measures include a 10pm curfew on pubs and bars and a ban on mixing between households from midnight tonight (Friday 18 September).

Pubs must also only operate table service.

Rules apply to the Northumberland, Newcastle, Sunderland, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead and County Durham council areas.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs there had been "concerning" rates of infection in this region and said "the battle against coronavirus is still not over."

He said all leisure and entertainment venues must close between 10pm and 5am. 

Sharp rise

Newcastle Director of Public Health Eugene Milne said the move was needed after a “sharp rise in cases”, which could impact the most vulnerable in society.

He told BBC News​: “What we want to do is act collectively to try and address that now.”

When asked why not declare a blanket closure on the licensed premises, Milne said: “We are trying to recognise there are a lot of businesses, including businesses in the hospitality sector, who have worked really hard to implement the guidance and make sure that social distancing and appropriate behaviours are observed in their premises and while they are operating.

Hard work

"But what we have also seen is that when people are coming out of these premises, when they have had a few drinks, when they are in public places, when they are queuing for takeaways late in the evening, that all of those rules go out of the window."

The director said authorities wanted to recognise the hard work of businesses while protecting public health in establishing "a compromise".

It comes after pubs in the Welsh county of Rhondda Cynon Taff will be forced to close at 11pm​ after being linked to a rise in coronavirus cases. The curfew will apply from tonight and last at least two weeks.

Illegal gatherings

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night-Time Industries Association (NITA) warned the localised restrictions could have a "devastating impact" on reopened businesses and would exacerbate the problems faced by those unable to reopen.

He added: "A curfew will prevent late-night bars and venues from trading at peak hours and will only drive more young people, frustrated by the restrictions, to socialise past curfew at illegal gatherings in unregulated environments and households leading to further issues around transmission."

Related topics: Health & safety

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