PUBS could be hit with a 10pm curfew to curb the spread of coronavirus as the Justice Secretary today said “young people forget the rules”.
The move could see venues close their doors at 10 or 11pm due to concerns boozed-up drinkers ignore social distancing.
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It comes as gatherings of more than six are banned from tomorrow as strict new lockdown measures come into effect.
A source told the Telegraph that the curfew was the “logical next step” for the country if local lockdowns fail to stop the spread of infection.
Bars in Bolton already have to close early in an attempt to curb the rise in cases in the city.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told Sky's Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “I think that as you've seen we've been very prepared to move quickly where necessary and where the evidence points us.
“I think there's an issue about social occasions and social events and particularly young people getting together and enjoying themselves sometimes a bit too much and forgetting the importance of the rules.
“I think it would be idle of me to speculate as to what measures we might have to bring in as we approach the winter.”
The warning comes as thousands of drinkers hit the bars on the last Saturday before new lockdown rules come into effect.
Groups of friends crammed into pubs and restaurants last night to "go out in style" before the "rule of six" is enforced tomorrow.
Revellers partied into the early hours in Cardiff, Sheffield and Birmingham, while police were on the streets of Nottingham, Newcastle and London to keep things under control.
'I COULDN'T CARE LESS ABOUT NEW RULE'
Pub diner Aaron Leighton, 23, who was celebrating a friend’s birthday with a group of 10 on a pub crawl round Brighton said: “I couldn’t care less about the new rule.
"I know people who came back from Spain and didn’t quarantine and what has anyone done about that? Nothing.
“This is the same. I can’t see anyone paying these fines they are threatening us with. I certainly won’t.”
One group of young men had hired a minibus to travel into Brighton from Guildford, Surrey with the aim of getting together for one last hurrah last night.
One of the men, Owain, 24, said: “This new rule means we’re not going be able to go out for ages together as a group.
"It might even be after Christmas before we see each other again so we wanted to go out in style.”
Jamie Rylance, who was with a group of 10, said: “I’ve come out with a few friends for a last drink or two because you never know what this government is going to do next.
“I got caught up with the Spain quarantine so I’ve been stuck indoors for a fortnight.
"The problem is that everyone has got bored with it and people are no longer wearing masks and social distancing anymore. It is worrying but what can you do?”
Ex-chief scientific adviser and Scientific Advisory Group member, Sir Mark Walport, warned: "I think one would have to say that we're on the edge of losing control."
He told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme yesterday: "The short answer is the only way to stop the spread of this infection is to reduce the number of people we all come into contact with, that lowers the risk.
"It's a very very fine balancing act, it's very important to get youngsters back to school, people to university, but it means we're going to have to hold back our contacts in other areas."
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