Coronavirus: What are the new lockdown rules Boris Johnson is to announce?

8 October 2020, 08:33 | Updated: 8 October 2020, 09:04

Rules for pubs differ across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Rules for pubs differ across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

What are the current coronavirus lockdown rules in place for Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales... and what is expected to change in the coming days?

Pubs in Scotland will be severely restricted from Friday under new measures announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to try and slow the rise in cases across the country.

And similar rules are expected to be announced for swathes of northern England in the next few days, including pubs altogether in worst-hit areas.

Read more: Calls grow for government to explain logic of 10pm curfew

Read more: Tougher restrictions planned for northern England include pub and restaurant closures

But how do the rules differ across the four nations?

What was announced in Scotland?

Pubs, bars and restaurants in Scotland currently have to close at 10pm, however from 6pm on Friday this will all change for 16 days.

From Friday, all licensed premises in the Central Belt must close completely until Sunday 25 October.

The Central Belt refers to the area covered by the health boards for Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Lothian, Forth Valley and Ayrshire and Arran, and includes both Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Outside of this area, pubs, cafes and restaurants will only be able to open indoors between 6am and 6pm, and will not be allowed to sell any alcohol during those hours.

However, they will be able to serve alcohol outdoors between 6pm and 10pm.

Read more: Scotland faces new restrictions in a bid to curb Covid-19 cases

Read more: Coronavirus lockdown: What are the new restrictions in Scotland?

People will still be able to meet up in groups of six made up of a maximum of two households in pub, subject to the new opening hours.

Hotel restaurants across the country will also be able to serve meals to residents in the evening, but will not be allowed to sell alcohol.

Exceptions are in place for "significant life events" such as wedding receptions and funeral wakes, which will be continue in line with current rules across the whole of the country.

What are the current rules in England?

Currently in England, all pubs, bars and restaurants must close by 10pm.

Any venue that can serve alcohol must do so via table service, except for takeaways.

Table bookings of more than six people are banned and people must not mingle in the pub.

Businesses are legally required to take customers' contact details for track and trace, and they can be fined up to £10,000 if they do not do so.

Venues can also be fined if they take reservations of more than six or do not enforce social distancing.

Staff must legally wear masks at all times, as must customers when not seated at their table to eat or drink.

The fine for not wearing a mask or for breaking the ''rule of six'' is now £200 for a first offence.

What is expected to be announced for the north of England?

Currently, further restrictions to those in place for the whole of England are already in place in parts of north-east England.

People in Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Northumberland and Sunderland are banned from mixing in pubs or restaurants with anyone from outside their own household.

On top of this, it is being reported that Boris Johnson is likely to order tough new Covid rules next week on pubs in northern England, which could include closing them altogether in Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Outside your household and socialising between households, the highest place in incidence of likely transmission, measured by where people have contacts, is unfortunately hospitality.

"Now obviously that finding is not good news in terms of the policy action we have to take for that sector."

At the same time, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is finalising a new package of coronavirus support for the hospitality industry, after a wave of demands from MPs and local government leaders.

What about the rest of the UK?

In Wales, pubs, bars and restaurants stop serving at 10pm, and customers will have to be off the premises by 10.20pm.

Supermarkets and off-licences are also not allowed to sell alcohol after that time.

In Northern Ireland, pubs have to stop serving at 10.30pm and must shut their doors by 11pm.