Revellers have headed into town early this evening ahead of England’s first 10pm pub and restaurant curfew.
The new rules, which also ban customers from ordering from the bar, come as the government aims to avoid a second national lockdown in the face of rising infection figures.
But the restrictions didn’t stop students in Preston and Leeds heading out to celebrate their first term of university – with groups pictured jumping into the air with glee as they enjoyed even a partial nightlife.
As darkness descended on bars in Soho, London, revellers continued to enjoy drinks on outside tables, despite all pubs having to take last orders well before 10pm to ensure the doors are locked in time for the curfew.
Others enjoyed a drink at pub beer gardens in London Bridge despite restrictions causing a lot of would-be revellers cancelling their nights out.
The restrictions didn’t stop students in Preston heading out to celebrate their first term of university – with groups pictured jumping into the air with glee as they enjoyed even a partial nightlife
Students in Leeds glammed up for an early night of drinking in groups of less than six as they enjoyed their first time of university following covid lockdown
As darkness descended on bars in Soho, London, revellers continued to enjoy drinks on outside tables, despite all pubs having to take last orders well before 10pm to ensure the doors are locked in time for the curfew. Pictured, people sitting outside a pub in London Bridge
Just hours after the announcement was made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday, food establishments slowly recovering from months of full Covid lockdown were faced with a wave of cancellations from concerned customers.
George Madgwick, who runs The Wicks Bistro, in Cosham, near Portsmouth, said he has already had eight cancellations from worried diners who had booked late-evening tables.
Mr Madgwick, 30, who started the business in February, a month before lockdown began, told MailOnline: ‘People don’t want to rush and are worried because it’s not last orders at 10pm, it’s everyone out the door at 10pm.
‘It’s taken away our ability to do three sittings in a night. Around 50 per cent of our business comes in at 7.30pm and we get around 20-25 per cent for 5pm tables, so the 8.45pm tables is about 20-25 per cent of our nightly business.
‘We’ve already had eight cancellations since the announcement and in the last 24 hours we have had zero bookings after 8.30pm, when we would normally have three or four.
Women walked down a street in Leeds as they enjoyed an early evening out before all pubs and restaurants close by 10pm
Students headed for a shortened drinking spree in Leeds before Mr Johnson’s latest list of restrictions are put into place
Just hours after the announcement was made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday, food establishments slowly recovering from months of full Covid lockdown were faced with a wave of cancellations from concerned customers. Pictured, people drinking at a pub in London Bridge
People sit in a pub in London Bridge despite the fact pubs and restaurants in England will be closed by 10pm – after Mr Johnson announced the new curfew on Tuesday
The new rules mean pubs and restaurants in England have to close by 10pm and customers are banned from ordering from the bar. They come as the government aims to avoid a second national lockdown in the face of rising infection figures. Pictured, students enjoying a night out in Preston
Mr Madgwick says the cost to the business could be around £300-a-night. But he says the biggest impact of the curfew will be on his staff.
He said: ‘Instead of working until 11.30pm everything has to close at 10pm so it will be more like 10.15pm, which is an hour and a quarter less hours every day.
‘It also has an impact on our suppliers because we will be using less. We use local suppliers so it has an impact down the chain as well.’
Meanwhile Dean Mac, owner and founder of cocktail bar 186 in Manchester also said he has lost business following the curfew announcement.
He told MailOnline: ‘The 10pm curfew essentially means our bookings have been cut in half.
People sit in a pub in London Bridge. Dean Mac, owner and founder of cocktail bar 186 in Manchester also said he has lost business following the curfew announcement
George Madgwick, who runs The Wicks Bistro, in Cosham, near Portsmouth, said he has already had eight cancellations from worried diners who had booked late-evening tables
Outside tables in Soho were filled with people making the most of the evening before the pubs and restaurants were closed early to follow the new restrictions
‘Since the announcement, we’ve had to follow up with each and every guest booked in and make them aware of the changes, including changing our entire infrastructure so we can look to open earlier and keep ourselves in operation.
‘Essentially we’ve had to cancel 50 per cent of our reservations as they are often made for around 9pm or 10pm.
‘To us it felt like some form of normality was returning and we were finding our feet again, only to have the rug pulled out from underneath us.
‘Six months’ of restrictions at a glance
- All pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be subject to a 10pm curfew from Thursday, while premises must kick out all of their customers by the cut off point;
- The hospitality sector will also be restricted to table service only as the Government outlawed drinkers making a trip to the bar;
- All workers and customers in indoor hospitality settings will be required to wear masks except when they are seated to eat or drink;
- All workers who can work from home are now being encouraged to do so from tomorrow;
- Fines for flouting the Rule of Six and not wearing a mask are increasing to £200 for first offences;
- The police will now have the option of asking the military for support with soldiers potentially being drafted in to guard protected sites in order to allow officers more time to crackdown on rule-breakers;
- The number of people allowed to attend weddings in England is being slashed to 15 from Monday but the number of people allowed to attend a funeral will stay at 30;
- Plans for the partial return of sports fans to stadiums have been paused;
- Rule of Six exemptions are being tightened to ban indoor team sports like five-a-side-football matches
‘It feels like the hospitality industry has been used as a scapegoat by the government.’
Another, Jennifer Hughes, brand partner at Peru Perdu in Manchester, said: ‘We’ve had to cancel a lot of bookings and have changed our last seating time to 7.30pm – effectively cutting our capability in half.
‘A few customers have cancelled and have concerns about going to restaurants all together from the scare of the latest announcement.’
Meanwhile, James Dodd, a landlord for a pub in Cheshire which he did not wish to be named, has had to employ five new part-time staff to deal with the new table service requirements.
Mr Dodd, from Altrincham, said he believes his pub will survive but worries others in his area will go bust as so much of their business takes place after 9pm.
He said: ‘I don’t think the Government realise that this flimsy measure, which arguably will have little effect on the virus, will have catastrophic implications for the industry.
Meanwhile, Stuart Seydel, the landlord at the Old Duke in Bristol, said he had already spent thousands of pounds encasing his establishment’s bar in protective perspex but now must retrain his staff to wait tables.
The 45-year-old said: ‘For several months we’ve been training now and we’ve set up a kind of bubble around the bar to keep them safe,’
‘Now we have to send them out from beyond that to go and give table service… in my opinion, it’s making the workplace less safe.
‘With less than 48 hours notice, we suddenly have to completely change the way we operate… and we’re losing two hours of our prime trading time. It’s ridiculous.’
Mr Seydel said his pub usually closes at 12pm so the 10pm curfew could cost them ‘several thousand’ per week.
Tom Stainer, chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), said the new measures pose a ‘very, very real risk’ to pubs and their staff.