Covid-19: New lockdown tier system to see pubs close in part of England

New restrictions in certain parts of England will force pubs and bars not serving food to close in a bid to tackle escalating cases of Covid-19.

The restrictions are part of the government’s new three-tier lockdown plan which will see Liverpool City Region classified as high-risk and will force the closure of pubs, bars, leisure centres, gyms, betting shops and casinos as part of top-level restrictions from Wednesday. Pubs must serve a "substantial meal" in order to stay open to  classify themselves as a restaurant. Retail businesses will remain open.

The restrictions will be reviewed in four weeks. Meanwhile, the government will work with local authorities to place other high-risk areas in the appropriate tier. Boris Johnson said he did not want to place the country in another full lockdown, but said “we need to go further” with the country’s efforts to suppress the virus.

The new tier system aims to simplify restrictions and place different areas of the country in one of three tiers depending on risk:

  • Tier 3 – very high: Preventing of social mixing indoors and outdoors, as well as closing pubs which do not serve food.
  • Tier 2 – high: Reducing household to household transmission, by prevent all social mixing between households indoors, the rule of six continues outdoors.
  • Tier 1 – medium: Current national measures – rule of six and 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants.

While retail faces no new restrictions, the wider impact on tier 3 high streets from the potential closure of hospitality businesses is expected to be far reaching as consumers reduce their contact with others and stay at home to avoid the risk of Covid-19. 

In other news, the Bank of England has written to banks asking them what steps they would need to take to adopt negative interest rates. Interest rates were cut to 0.1% at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis and a move to negative interest rates would be the first in its 326-year history.

This story has been updated to amend the fact that restaurants are not included in the restrictions.