England

Restaurants, pubs and bars in Northern Ireland to face an 11pm curfew

Pubs, bars and restaurants in Northern Ireland will face an 11pm curfew, First Minister Arlene Foster has announced.

The curfew will apply from midnight on Wednesday and establishments will have to call for last orders at 10.30pm.

The new rules will affect pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes, hotels and guesthouse bars.

Image: The curfew will come into force at midnight on Wednesday

Weddings and other special events will not be exempt.

"The intention behind the earlier closing time is that socialising later in the evening is considered to increase the risk of virus spreading because people adhere to the rules less strictly after consuming alcohol and in venues where they are used to mixing freely," Mrs Foster told the Stormont Assembly.

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Supermarkets and off-licences are already banned from selling alcohol after 11pm and there are restrictions stopping more than one household meeting in homes.

Mrs Foster said although there was a "risk" people would go to house parties, the rules already in place should prevent this.

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The restrictions will be subject to enforcement, the first minister added.

"We do not want to go there. We would prefer that everyone works with us to impact the spread of the virus," she said.

"But enforcement has a role, and we are working closely with the PSNI and local government to understand the issues from their perspectives and also the importance of community responses."

England, Scotland and Wales have already imposed 10pm curfews on the hospitality sector.

On Saturday, Northern Ireland recorded its highest daily number of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.

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