Last Blast: Brits Pub Crawling Ahead of New COVID-19 Curfew

Grant Boone
September 24, 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has blamed people for "too many breaches" of coronavirus rules for a second wave, and he warned that there could be a "second national lockdown".

Mr Johnson also warned of "even tougher measures" in the weeks to come if people do not follow the new restrictions.

The most high-profile change centered on pubs, restaurants and other entertainment venues in England, which from Thursday must close at 10 pm.

However, people in key public services and professions where home working is not possible, such as retail or construction, should continue to attend their workplaces.

"I want to stress that this is by no means a return to the full lockdown of March", Johnson said during an address to lawmakers in the House of Commons.

"This is a time of national crisis but we need clear leadership". Never in our history has our collective destiny and our collective health depended so completely on our individual behaviour.

The military could be used to free up police officers to tackle coronavirus rulebreakers, while Mr Johnson said the government reserves the "right to go further" if restrictions do not work.

New Covid-19 infections in Britain are growing at about the same pace as they were at the beginning of April, and now run at more than 4,000 detected new cases each day.

Many scientists see echoes of the path of the outbreak earlier in the year when the virus spread swiftly through the country and led to Europe's deadliest outbreak.

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"After six months of restrictions, it would be tempting to hope the threat has faded and to seek comfort in the belief that, if you have avoided the virus so far, then you are somehow immune", he said.

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Johnson's government has faced a barrage of criticism over its handling of the pandemic, notably over big problems in the testing regime.

Just last month it was encouraging people back to pubs and restaurants with a discount scheme. And Johnson is urging anyone who can work from home to do so.

But some lawmakers from the governing Conservative Party are uneasy about tightening restrictions on business and daily life, citing the impact on Britain's already-reeling economy and the curbing of civil liberties.

Johnson added that he was "deeply, spiritually reluctant to make any of these impositions, or infringe anyone's freedom".

"The tragic reality of having Covid is that your mild cough can be someone else's death knell".

In Scotland the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, went further by imposing a ban on household visits from Wednesday. For casual gatherings, the number is limited to six people. The deputy first minister, Michelle O'Neill, said whether to introduce an early closing time for pubs is something ministers would be considering, describing replicating the 10pm curfew being introduced in England as "fair enough" to consider.

More restrictions were forthcoming in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

"There is nothing more frustrating, for the vast majority who do comply. than the site of a few brazenly defying the rules".

Mr Johnson hammered home the message in a televised evening address to the nation, calling for a collective effort to "get through this winter together". She urged the government to introduce new financial support for businesses in hard-hit city centers and for furloughed workers.

Schools and universities are to stay open.

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