Pubs in England must wait until 6am on Saturday to reopen

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Pubs will not be able to throw open their doors to drinkers in England first thing on Saturday because the regulations will enforce their closure until 6am.

With the new coronavirus regulations not being published until Friday afternoon, some landlords had planned to open as soon as the clock ticked past midnight.

But Downing Street scotched the swift openings by ensuring the current ban remains in place until after sunrise.

The BrewDog chain of pubs was on Friday cancelling events after the new rules were reported.

Boris Johnson has urged the public not to “blow it now” by not behaving safely and abiding by social-distancing rules when the restrictions are eased for pubs, bars and restaurants.

The regulations signed off by Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote into law a 30-person limit on gatherings at home and outdoors in settings not deemed “Covid-secure”.

“The regulations also keep in place a list of premises that must remain closed and that includes nightclubs, nail bars and salons, indoor play areas, gyms, conference centres and exhibition halls,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

“Those regulations mostly come into force at 12.01am on Saturday July 4.

“The reopening of pubs and bars specifically comes into force at 6am. That would just be in the event anybody would attempt to try to open at midnight.”

Laws limiting indoor gatherings to two households and outdoor gatherings to six people have now been revoked – although Government guidance still advises these are wise precautions.

The 30-person limit would prevent mass gatherings, Number 10 said.

“The reason for setting the figure for 30 is we do have to put a number into law and that is to provide police with the powers that they need to break up a rave or some other large gathering which is clearly irresponsible and in breach of the social distancing rules,” the PM’s spokesman said.

Pubs, restaurants, cinemas and some other venues or organised events are exempt from the 30-person limit as long as sufficient measures have been put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

Nothing in the law prohibits games of football or cricket outside.

But officials have urged people to continue following social-distancing measures if they are to take part in team sports.

The latest laws also allow Mr Hancock to order the closure of any public outdoor space, like parks, if there is a “serious and imminent threat to public health”.

Fines could still be imposed for those deemed to be flouting the rules and police officers still have the power to disperse large groups.

The rules must be reviewed again before the end of the month.

Separate regulations to enforce the continued lockdown in Leicester were published on Friday.

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