Pubs in London, Essex and Hertfordshire to close

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Tier three woe: the health secretary Matt Hancock has announced London will be placed into tier three
Tier three woe: the health secretary Matt Hancock has announced London will be placed into tier three

Related tags London Coronavirus Legislature lockdown Health and safety

Pubs in London, parts of Essex and Hertfordshire must close as the areas are to be placed into the toughest band of coronavirus measures.

Greater London, the south and west of Essex, and areas in the south of Hertfordshire will be placed under tier three from one minute past midnight on Wednesday 16 December, health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed.

The areas in full are: Three Rivers, Watford, Hertsmere and Broxbourne in Hertfordshire;  Basildon, Brentwood, Harlow, Epping Forest, Castle Point, Rochford, Maldon, Braintree, Chelmsford, Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea in Essex; and all of Greater London.

Some 13,929 hospitality venues in London's 32 boroughs and the City will be hit by the measures, according to the real estate adviser Altus Group. 

Some 3,635 pubs and 240 wine bars would be affected, the real estate adviser said.

In London, the final 1,250 pubs who had remained open under tier two rules will be forced to shut, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

Pubs closing from tomorrow night will join the 16,010 pubs already in tier three in areas including Greater Manchester, Kent and Bristol.

New variant of virus

A new variant of the virus had been identified in the country and may be "associated" with the fast spread of infection in the south of England, Hancock said speaking in the House of Commons today (Monday 14 December). 

The Government is to announce its first fortnightly review into areas’ progress under the tier system on Wednesday 16 December.

However, Hancock said given the worrying cases in the south of England, "swift and decisive action" was needed ahead of this review.

There was a rise in coronavirus cases across the capital city in figures for the week to 9 December, with eastern parts of the city particularly affected.

Schools in Islington and Greenwich are to close given the boroughs' high infection rate.

No sense

The overall infection rate across the capital rose by 40% in a week to 241 cases per 100,000 people, making it the highest of any region of England.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the city's night czar Amy Lamé have called on the Government to provide more support for businesses affected.

What's more, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Putting hospitality businesses back into lockdown, which is effectively what tier 3 amounts to, is not going to tackle increasing infection rates.

“There’s still no hard evidence that hospitality venues are a significant contributor for the spike in infections. Cases were higher at the end of the last lockdown – during which hospitality was shut down – than at the start.

"The spread is being predominantly driven through schools – even the Mayor of London has pointed this out and called for schools to stay shut until January. Yet, once again, it is hospitality that will take the hit. The Government is cracking down on hospitality for an increase in the infection rates that occurred during a period when hospitality was forcibly closed. It makes no sense."

Despair at news

London-based operators have shared their despair on social media about the news.

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