Pubs and bars will be closed in highest alert level areas under Boris Johnson‘s new three-tier system unless they can operate as a restaurant.
The Prime Minister today announced England will be placed into “medium”, “high” and “very high” alert levels under new coronavirus restrictions.
Areas listed as medium will be subject to the same rules as those which currently apply across the country, such as the rule of six and the 10pm hospitality curfew.
In the high alert level, which will apply to most of the areas already subject to restrictions, mixing between households or support bubbles will be banned indoors.
The very high alert level will apply to areas causing the most concern, and social mixing will be prohibited both indoors and in private gardens.
Pubs and bars will close unless they can operate as a restaurant, and people will be advised against travel in and out of the areas.
The Liverpool City Region is currently the only area that has been placed on a very high alert level.
Local leaders in areas facing the toughest restrictions will help determine whether other venues, such as gyms or casinos, should be closed.
A four-week “sunset clause” will apply, the PM said. He told MPs: “We will keep these measures under constant review.”
Schools, non-essential retail and universities will remain open in all levels.
A postcode checker will be launched on the Government’s website to advise people what guidance applies to their area.
Downing Street said each local authority area will be placed in a local Covid alert level by the end of Monday.
Mr Johnson said the very high level applies “where transmission rates are rising most rapidly and where the NHS could soon be under unbearable pressure without further restrictions.”
He said: “In these areas the Government will set a base line of prohibiting social mixing indoors and in private gardens and I am sorry to say closing pubs and bars.
“We want to create the maximum possible local consensus behind this more severe local action, so in each area we will work with local government leaders on the additional measures which should be taken. This could lead to further restrictions on the hospitality, leisure, entertainment or personal care sectors, but retail, schools and universities will remain open.”
“Most areas which are already subject to local restrictions will automatically move into the high alert level,” the Prime Minister added. “As a result of rising infection rates, Nottinghamshire, East and West Cheshire and a small area of High Peak will also move into the high alert level.”
He said this level “primarily aims to reduce household to household transmission by preventing all mixing between different households or support bubbles indoors. In these areas the rule of six will continue to apply outdoors where it is harder for the virus to spread in public spaces as well as private gardens.”
He added: “The medium alert level will cover most of the country and will consist of the current national measures, this includes the rule of six and the closure of hospitality at 10pm.”
Mr Johnson warned there are more people in hospital with coronavirus than when the country first went into lockdown in March, and that deaths are rising. But he insisted he did not believe another national lockdown would be the right course of action.