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25th Sep 2020

10pm pub curfew forces hundreds onto packed trains in London

Who could have seen this coming

Oli Dugmore

Who could have seen this coming

Pubs and restaurants have had their opening hours forcibly cut short by new coronavirus restrictions, which bring in a 10pm curfew for the hospitality sector.

Presumably the rule’s intention is to reduce transmission between the public when meeting and socialising, but the end result on Thursday was night was a happy hour crush as hundreds of people simultaneously headed home.

And Thursday was also the day the UK recorded its highest ever daily number of new coronavirus cases – 6,634.

Video shows hundreds of people in central London, after the 10pm closure, milling through the streets and heading home via public transport.

Kirsty Lewis, who tweeted the clip, said: “10pm curfew just meant everyone rolling out onto the streets and onto the tubes at the same time and it was the busiest I’ve seen central London in months.”

City Inspectors were seen patrolling Soho enforcing the 10pm deadline.

Previously, the area of west London had become a hub of social activity and business as the coronavirus lockdown gradually lifted.

Its streets were pedestrianised, allowing restaurants and bars to seat customers across pavements and roads, as the public flocked back to hospitality businesses.

The government even subsidised restaurant visits with its Eat Out to Help Out scheme and encouraged trips to pubs. Now, they’re rowing back.