Andy Burnham has called for a review of the 10pm curfew as it is ‘doing more harm than good’.
The Greater Manchester Mayor has warned that the new rule put in place across the nation is doing ‘more harm than good’ as people spilled into the streets and supermarkets following the closure of the pub.
This weekend in Manchester city centre, people were spotted gathering on streets and in supermarkets rather than going home after the 10pm curfew.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Burnham said: “I received reports (in Manchester city centre) that supermarkets were absolutely packed out to the rafters and lots of people gathering after 10pm.
“There needs to be an urgent review of the emerging evidence from police forces.
“My gut feeling is that this curfew is doing more harm than good. It is potentially contradictory. It creates an incentive for people to gather in the streets or more probably, to gather in the home. That is the opposite of what our local restrictions here are trying to do.”
Mr Burnham added that his ‘gut feeling’ is the 10pm curfew should be lifted. He then added that a 9pm cut off for alcohol sales in supermarket could be imposed.
He added: “I’m not here to score points, I’m looking for solutions here. I can understand what the government is trying to do.
“Let me give some suggestions. Perhaps there could be a 9pm curfew on the sale of alcohol in supermarkets and shops that would prevent the rush to shops once pubs have closed. That’s what we certainly saw on Saturday.
“The government has said the 10pm curfew is based on Belgium, but they also have police to disperse people on the streets.
“My personal feeling is that the curfew is probably doing more harm than good as it’s creating a major incentive for people to carry on drinking and partying at home. And that is where we are told the virus spreads – gatherings in the home.”
He said: “If it is doing more harm and damaging businesses, then the government shouldn’t just plough on with it. It certainly requires urgent attention.”
Contrastingly, health minister Helen Whatley has praised the 10pm curfew. Speaking on the BBC 1 Breakfast programme she said: “As people drink more they tend to socially distance less.
“So one approach to keeping people socially distancing is to limit the amount of time that people are in places where they are drinking and then this breaking down of compliance with the rules.
“We have also seen in some of the places where there have been higher rates over the summer that sometimes bars have been the places where there has been an outbreak so this is a reason why one of the actions we have taken is to have people stopping being out drinking at an earlier time.”
Despite this, latest reports from The Times show that Parliament’s bar has not been made subject to the 10pm curfew as it falls under the description of ‘workplace canteen’.
There are 19 restaurants and cafeterias, nine bars and a coffee bar that cater for MPs within the Houses of Parliament. Furthermore, customers and staff are not required to follow the new face-covering rules.
Around the country, there have been reports of crowds flocking to streets after the curfew.
One person wrote: “This breaks my heart. Pls boris close the pubs again, full lockdown needed. They can’t be trusted”
Another wrote: “Scenes from my old home city of Liverpool last night. Whatever the merits of the 10pm curfew, if such behaviour continues we are heading for a complete shutdown of the night time economy and worse. The choices of individuals as well as governments have consequences.”
A third pointed out that at 10:15 the Uber surge charge in Manchester was three times, trams were ‘full of people sitting wherever they could’ and taxi ranks became ‘crowds of people arguing over who got their first’. Adding: “How exactly, does this help stop the spread of the virus? Spoiler alert….it doesn’t.”
Shadow justice secretary David Lammy has questioned the ‘science’ behind the new curfew explaining that it is ‘not clear where that came from’.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has confirmed that there is ‘definitely science behind it’. Speaking on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, Dowden said ‘that’s why we’re requiring people to be seated in pubs and restaurants, so that stops the flow of them to and from the bar’.
Brewer and pub chain Greene King told the BBC: “Without the usual slow ‘wind-down’ time that pubs would see with a gradual closure, customers were all leaving at once which presented more of a challenge for the pub teams managing people’s safety on exiting the premises.”
The chain urged for additional help from the government for the hospitality industry: “The measures have not been well thought through and the combined impact of [the curfew], the challenges of table service-only and the fact that the government are unfairly targeting the hospitality sector has had a cumulative negative impact.”
Wetherspoons boss, Tim Martin, said: “The main problem with the 22:00 curfew is that it’s another random and arbitrary move by the government, which lacks logic or scientific credibility.”
Greater Manchester Nightingale Hospital open again due to high levels of coronavirus
The Nightingale Hospital for the North West will open later this week and house non-Covid patients.
The temporary facility to treat patients with Covid-19 opened originally in April but has been closed in summer.
However, later this week it is set to reopen for non-Covid patients.
It is set to reopen as figures show the number of coronavirus patients being treated in the North West is now approaching the level it was in the first surge of the virus.
A spokesperson said: “The NHS Nightingale Hospital North West will accept patients from today to provide care for those who do not have Covid-19, but do need further support before they are able to go home, such as therapy and social care assessments.”
As of October 26th, North West hospitals had 2,407 patients with coronavirus, the highest number of cases since April 23rd.
Dr Jane Eddleston, medical director of the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Nightingale will not be used as a critical care facility and neither was it in the first phase. It will be used as a facility for patients to have additional rehabilitation.”
Sacha Lord says 10pm curfew will be reviewed next month
Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser, Sacha Lord, has said the government will review the 10pm curfew in November.
All hospitality venues must shut their doors at 10pm under current laws, however, Sacha Lord and other industry members have been campaigning the curfew.
Since September 24th, when the curfew was put in place, the #CancelTheCurfew movement has been backed by a number of industry professionals.
The Parklife founder, Lord, filed a pre-action letter last night which claimed there was no scientific justification of the Tier 3 regulations and the limits on pubs and bars operating hours.
Lord has tweeted that the government ‘are reviewing the UK 10pm curfew’ in November.
He wrote: “In November, the Government are reviewing the UK 10pm curfew.
“It doesn’t work for the public or operators.
“Overloaded transport, crowded takeaways, supermarkets etc.
“It’s doing far more harm than good. Operators are running safe and secure COVID19 venues.
“Cancel the Curfew”
Lord confirmed they had a formal response from the government regarding the judicial review where he said ‘we consider it insufficient’.
He added “I cannot go into detail, but I can say that we have considered it and it is insufficient. I have instructed my lawyers to commence legal proceedings.”
Lord is now backing the OneGM campaign, which sees different sectors of the industry coming together to show support for businesses and people in Greater Manchester.
It is unclear yet when Greater Manchester will be removed from Tier 3 restrictions.
Dr Hilary backs calls for tier 3 restrictions across all of England by Christmas
It’s not looking good.
Dr Hilary has responded on GMB this morning to reports that the whole of England should be in tier 3 by Christmas.
It comes following some reports that all of England could be placed under the strictest coronavirus restrictions by mid-December.
The UK deaths hit their highest level in five months on Tuesday, when 367 new fatalities linked to coronavirus and nearly 23,000 more cases were recorded.
The Sun explained that SAGE member, Professor Sir Mark Walport said it is ‘not unrealistic’ to think that 25,000 people could be in hospital with Covid-19 by the end of November.
With total Covid related deaths reaching 61,000 across the nation, there are predictions that figures will be higher than the Spring peak come December.
Members of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Body (Sage) are reportedly warning that virus rates all over the country will soar past the levels seen in areas in the North already.
A government source also told The Sun ‘the latest Sage numbers are utterly bleak.’
According to the Daily Telegraph, ‘Downing Street is working on the assumption that the second wave of COVID-19 will be more deadly than the first.’
From next week parts of Nottinghamshire and Warrington will be placed into Tier Three.
This means that more than eight million people in England, predominantly in the North, will be under the most stringent Covid-19 restrictions by the end of the week.
The Environment Secretary, George Eustice, told Sky News: “The prime minister has been very clear, as we all are, that we want people to celebrate Christmas in a way that is as close to normal as possible.
“But it is too early to be able to say exactly what the situation will become Christmas, and exactly what different parts of the country will or will not be able to do.
“Obviously checking the spread of this virus is paramount, but alongside that we want people to live their lives as close to normal as possible, including at Christmas which is an incredibly important time for families.”
Dr Hilary Jones spoke on Good Morning Britain this morning explaining that a vaccine ‘won’t stop a rise in infections’.
Jones said: “Just look at the figures, the hospital admissions are increasing, doubling every two weeks. In a month from now, we’ll be worse than we were in the first wave.”
He said: “We can’t rely on a vaccine, we hope it will save people from dying but it won’t stop infections, not the early vaccine anyway.”
Adding that: “I think we still need to rely on the basic principles which is hands, face, space and if we all do that and we’re realistic and don’t say Christmas is an exception.
“If we make Christmas an exception, then every celebration will be an exception. A birthday, a Friday night, a promotion…”