Covid: London 10pm curfew should be scrapped, mayor says

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image captionSadiq Khan said the curfew does not "make sense"

The 10pm curfew should be scrapped in London to help venues deal with Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions, the Mayor of London has said.

Since 27 September all pubs, bars and restaurants in England must shut no later than 10pm.

Current restrictions also prevent Londoners from meeting friends or family in pubs and restaurants.

Sadiq Khan said the curfew does not "make sense" and extending hospitality opening hours will boost cash flow.

In a statement, Mr Khan said: "Now London and other parts of the country have moved into Tier 2 the current 10pm curfew policy makes even less sense and should be scrapped.

Scrapping the policy "would allow more sittings of single households in restaurants throughout the evening", Mr Khan said.

This would "boost cash flow at a time when venues need all the support they can get".

"Ministers must give businesses the support they need to survive while restrictions remain in place," Mr Khan added.

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image captionA legal challenge is under way against the 10pm curfew

Under the Tier 2 restrictions, household mixing is still permitted outside, including at pubs and restaurants with outdoor seating, although the rule of six applies.

The 10pm curfew is subject to a legal challenge, led by nightclub chain owner Jeremy Joseph.

Last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the curfew was a "matter of policy choice" rather than driven by scientific advice.

He claimed there is "direct and proximate evidence" for the positive impact of the limits on pubs and restaurants, citing a fall in alcohol-related A&E admissions late at night.

But Mr Hancock said the government's desire to protect education and work "as much as is possible" meant they had to take measures against socialising to try to slow the spread of Covid-19 transmission.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said: "The restrictions for pubs and bars, which the mayor originally called for, are carefully judged to achieve the maximum reduction in the R number with the minimum impact on jobs and livelihoods. However, we keep all measures under review."

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