As at yesterday’s date, the UK had a total of 561,815 tested positive cases for coronavirus. There was a total of 57,347 recorded deaths as at 25 September 2020.

Following a complete lockdown in the hospitality industry, pubs and restaurants were allowed to open their doors on 4 July 2020 when the number of recorded Covid-19 positive cases in the UK went down to 403. Up to the end of August 2020, there was a steady rise in Covid-19 positive cases; the figures were 1,163 on 30 August 2020.

Since the 10pm curfew imposed on hospitality venues, from Thursday 24 September 2020, the figures seem to have risen at an alarming rate. If we look at the number of tested positive cases in the UK on 24 September 2020 which were 7,606 and compare these figures with yesterday’s positive cases of 17,540, these have more than doubled.

One thing which is evident from these figures is that the 10pm curfew is simply not having the desired effect. It has been reported that there have been large queues outside off-licences following 10pm closures of hospitality venues, where social distancing measures are simply not being adhered to. Those leaving hospitality venues are going on elsewhere, like house parties, where no rules or regulations are being enforced and where it is being left to neighbours to report.

Since the re-opening of hospitality venues on 4 July 2020, these venues have been forced to adopt strict Covid-19 rules and regulations such as the ‘rule of 6’ where table service only is permitted for groups of no more than 6 and those seated at tables are not allowed to mingle with other groups. It therefore raises the question of whether it is actually safer to keep these venues open to avoid large gatherings in unregulated spaces and give these businesses a chance of survival in these unparalleled times.

A forced closure of pubs and restaurants across central Scotland is set to go ahead from 6pm today until 25 October 2020 inclusive. Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes in other areas of Scotland will only be allowed to open indoors between the hours of 6am and 6pm. Those premises with alcohol licences will not be able to make use of these as no alcoholic beverages will be permitted. Casinos and bingo halls will also close for two weeks. Takeaways can continue. Those hospitality venues with outside areas can also continue with a 10pm curfew and alcohol sales are allowed for outside areas provided there is a premises licence in place which permits this licensable activity.

This will inevitably cause enormous disruptions to many businesses in Scotland and news of this is unwelcome by many. The question of whether other locations in the UK will follow suit is one which cannot be avoided in these times of fast-changing rules and regulations.

** Please contact us for advice

Joanna Onisiforou – Associate – 0207 759 1371

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