The culture secretary has said there is “definitely science” behind the 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants, despite scenes of impromptu street parties in cities after closing time across England.
Videos posted to social media on Saturday night show hundreds of people in Liverpool closely packed together outside and echo scenes in London from Friday evening.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden, told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “There is definitely science behind it, that’s why we’re requiring people to be seated in pubs and restaurants, so that stops the flow of them to and from the bar.
“We are reducing the closing times to stop people staying later and drinking. And the point about all of this is that everyone has their part to play. If we all play by the rules, we can ensure that there are not further, more draconian restrictions.”
Dowden’s comments come despite a scientist advising the government saying he had “never heard” the measure discussed at Sage meetings.
And according to a report in The Times, Boris Johnson introduced the curfew measures not based on science or modelling, but because it was “a good symbolic thing because it’s a low-cost way of sending a clear message that things are different”.
From Thursday, pubs, bars and restaurants were told to offer table service only – and hospitality, leisure, entertainment and tourism businesses all have to close between 10pm and 5am.
The London Mayor’s office urged Londoners not to congregate at closing times and urged them to follow the guidelines.