New measures will be outlined 'in the coming days'

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

More measures: communities secretary Robert Jenrick refused to rule out the closure of pubs in coronavirus hotspots today and said an announcement would come soon
More measures: communities secretary Robert Jenrick refused to rule out the closure of pubs in coronavirus hotspots today and said an announcement would come soon

Related tags: Scotland, Scottish, Manchester, Humberside, Glasgow, Leeds, York, Coronavirus, Legislation, Health and safety

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick has said there will be an announcement on further coronavirus measures “in the coming days”.

Ministers are discussing further restrictions on the hospitality sector – including a brief closure of pubs in northern England – this week but are yet to make a final discussion, according to reports in the BBC and elsewhere.

Parts of northern England have reported rising infection rates despite many areas already under local measures including bans on households mixing. 

Jenrick said: “We're trying to take a regional and proportionate approach and that means reviewing the passage of the virus in each part of the country.”

“It is true that the virus is rising, in terms of number of cases, significantly in the north west, in the north east and in a number of other cities like Nottingham for example, near my own constituency,” he added, speaking to BBC News​ this morning (Thursday 8 October).

His words come as operators in parts of Scotland have been told to close their pubs for 16 days this Friday (9 October)​ and those in other areas not allowed to serve alcohol indoors. Publicans have also said a £40m support package promised by the Scottish Government will not be enough to prevent business failures and job losses.

No confirmation

When asked to confirm if a closure of pubs in the worst-affected areas of England was on the cards, Jenrick said: “I'm not going to rule things in or out.”

He said “a localised and proportionate response has to be the way forward”.

Ministers were “considering the evidence” on additional restrictions for the hospitality sector, he did confirm. 

“In some parts of the country, the number of cases is rising very fast and we are taking that seriously but we are not in a position to make an announcement right now."

The minister said if further steps were taken the Government would “take very seriously how we can help and support those individuals and businesses”.

“We understand that hospitality has been asked to bear a greater burden than almost any other sector of the economy,” he said.

Great concern

Jenerick added he understood owners of pubs and restaurants, “who have been through so much already this year,” would be watching the news in Scotland with “great concern.”

BBC​ reports have suggested the Prime Minister could make an announcement outlining further measures on Monday.

Publicans in northern England have said they feel penalised by ministers and are afraid of future restrictions.

One MA​ reader Rob Forster said on Facebook :"Most days it is now too cold to sit outside on the Yorkshire coast. I don't see the Scots' pubs being much warmer. Thank god we still have some sort of furlough for this, but not for much longer."

Another site, The Sun Lepton, Huddersfield, tweeted to say they were anticipating further restrictions now.

They said: "We will be next. Are the #Government​ losing their minds? All this is doing is sending people to over-crowded house parties. We are keeping people safe, we are cleaning down every half hour and have safety measures in place."

Related topics: Legislation

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