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Covid: Manchester mayor calls for ‘urgent review’ of 10pm closures

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Publishedduration55 minutes agoimage copyrightShutterstockimage captionGreater Manchester’s night-time economy tsar said the closures were “ill thought out” and “shambolic”The mayor of Greater Manchester has called for an “urgent review” of 10pm closure times for pubs and restaurants. Andy Burnham said it meant people were gathering in homes and supermarkets that were “packed out to the rafters”…

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image captionGreater Manchester’s night-time economy tsar said the closures were “ill thought out” and “shambolic”

The mayor of Greater Manchester has called for an “urgent review” of 10pm closure times for pubs and restaurants.

Andy Burnham said it meant people were gathering in homes and supermarkets that were “packed out to the rafters” once the bars closed.

“My gut feeling is that this curfew is doing more harm than good,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

He said: “It creates an incentive for people to gather in the street or more probably to gather in the home.”

Under the new restrictions, which came into force on Thursday, all pubs, bars and restaurants in England are to provide table service only and must shut no later than 10pm.

Mr Burnham said people gathering after closures was “the opposite of what local restrictions here are trying to do”.

“I think there needs to be an urgent review of the emerging evidence from police forces across the country,” he added.

He suggested one option could be to impose a 9pm cut-off on alcohol sales in shops to prevent the rush to off-licences after the pubs close.

image copyrightPA Media

image captionAndy Burnham has called for an “urgent review” of the 10pm closures for pubs and restaurants

Mr Burnham has also called for more financial support for areas under greater restrictions and tougher powers for local areas to close businesses not observing the rules.

Greater Manchester’s night-time economy tsar Sacha Lord

tweeted that the plan was “ill thought out” and “shambolic”.

Liverpool’s mayor Joe Anderson has also spoken out about the 10pm closures, saying they are “making things more dangerous” after crowds gathered in the city as the pubs turned out drinkers on Saturday night.

Extra restrictions on socialising between households were introduced in Greater Manchester, as well as parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire, at the end of July following a spike in cases.

John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation, said: “My colleagues will do the best they can to encourage and coerce people to move on but it is really difficult.

“All that you need is a hostile group that turns against those officers and the resources for that city centre are swallowed up dealing with that one incident.”

Health minister Helen Whately said the government was keeping an “open mind” about the new regulations.

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.