Yesterday (23 November), in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister (PM) delivered a statement on the Government’s COVID-19 winter plan. He announced that from 2 December the Government will reintroduce a localised system, based on strengthened tiers.
A number of changes will be made to the previous tiered system, including the 10pm closing time for hospitality, which will be modified to last orders at 10pm and closing time at 11pm. This allows customers to depart in a staggered way and provides greater flexibility.
Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, participated in the debate following the PM’s statement. He asked a virtual question in the House of Commons, where he highlighted the importance of the hospitality sector to local economies. He asked:
“Families and businesses in Bexleyheath and Crayford will share my strong support for my right hon. Friend’s statement and approach today. However, we have a thriving hospitality sector that has particularly suffered this year because of the necessary restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus. While safety remains the top priority, does my right hon. Friend agree that the hospitality sector is the backbone of our local town centres, and it is vital we continue to provide it with the support it needs to help them survive and to protect jobs?”
The PM responded:
“Indeed, and I have been with my right hon. Friend to many a fantastic hospitality venue in Bexley. I seem to remember going with him to one pub where he christened a blue drink: the Bexley Breeze Block I think it was, from memory. Let us hope that we are able to get the hospitality sector going across the country in the way that we would all want so that those fantastic businesses can recover strongly in the new year. We are going to do that by the techniques that I have mentioned—tough tiering, mass testing and rolling out a vaccine.”