A ‘Covid curfew’ may be brought in for pubs - here’s how it could work

Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 4:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 4:27 pm
There are reports that Downing Street is mulling over a 10pm or 11pm curfew if the R-rate doesn't start falling again (Photo: Shutterstock)

There are reports that a nationwide curfew which would force all businesses to close by 10pm or 11pm is being considered by the UK government.

With the R-rate (reproduction rate) of Covid-19 infections thought to be rising again across the country, and the number of cases steadily mounting up, the government is considering a coronavirus curfew, aimed primarily at pubs and restaurants. This could be brought in if the implementation of the ‘rule of six’ measures does not halt the current virus surge.

Pubs and restaurants in the areas where local lockdowns are in place are already closing at 10pm, but there are reports that a full rollout of this curfew is being considered by ministers, with a senior Conservative source reportedly telling the Daily Telegraph that the plan is “the next obvious step if the numbers keep rising.”

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Why a curfew?

It is thought that the curfew will be particularly aimed at bringing down the rate of transmission among young people, who have been blamed by some for the rise in cases, with claims that they have not been following the appropriate measures.

When asked about a possible curfew on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland suggested that the main issue is with young people “enjoying themselves a bit too much” and forgetting about the social distancing rules.

The Justice secretary also said that the introduction of another full national lockdown is considered to be a “nuclear option,” and that other measures, such as “enhanced testing, localised measures and indeed the rule of six” have a part to play.

Will a curfew work?

It’s thought that people become less likely to adhere to any guidelines the more alcohol they have consumed, meaning forcing people out of pubs earlier may have some impact.

In Belgium, where a similar curfew policy has been adopted, the case rate has dropped considerably, with many attributing the fall in cases to the curfew.

Do people support the idea?

Polling by YouGov found that a majority of people in the UK would support the introduction of a curfew to help prevent a second wave, with 61 per cent in favour and just 29 per cent opposed.

Polling found that a majority support the measure across all age groups, with the highest support coming from the oldest age range, but still more than 50 per cent of 18 to 24 year-olds backing it.