Merseyside has been placed under “tier 3” coronavirus restrictions following a steep rise in transmission rates and cases.
It is the highest tier within England’s new lockdown system and could last up to six months, government sources said.
It means pubs, bars, gyms, casinos, and bookmakers have closed, with only food-led establishments allowed to trade, though only with households – no mixing is allowed.
Some local leaders attempted to push back on central Government’s imposed measures, it is believed, but the Prime Minister and his Cabinet said the rules must be implemented.
There was some confusion in the week as to what constituted a “substantial meal”, which is what the communities minister Robert Jenrick said was required in order for a business to trade.
It later transpired – sort of – that a main meal qualified, but snacks like sausage rolls and Scotch eggs did not.
While restaurants and food-led pubs can stay open, there remains questions over diners’ choosing to stay away, due to the severity of the coronavirus lockdown regulations. Customer confidence has been knocked.
Harden’s understand Ellis Barrie’s new restaurant Lrpwl, which was doing a comfortable and joyous business before the new rules, saw a significant drop in trade after the Government’s announcements.
Tier 3, however, does afford restaurants and pubs greater financial support.
The Prime Minister said: “The exact restrictions at this level – very high – will be worked out with local leaders along with tailored packages of support. But, at a minimum, they will sadly include a ban on all social mixing between households in private places including gardens.”
The PM continued: “Pubs and bars must close unless they can operate solely as a restaurant, serving alcohol only as part of a main meal.”