Following stringent rules implemented in Scotland, England now faces tighter restrictions to be introduced next week. The worst-affected areas could be looking at closing their bars, pubs and restaurants, as the BBC reports.
A three-tier system for lockdowns may be implemented in England by the UK government, entailing varying levels of restrictions for areas depending on their COVID-19 infection risk levels, and other COVID-19-related aspects.
According to BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, a formal announcement will probably not be made until Monday as discussions continue.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer strongly urged the government to be more transparent and publish the scientific evidence behind the rule which demands pubs and restaurants close at 22:00. Additionally, Starmer will not disclose whether he will vote in favour of the new restrictions next week.
According to Robert Jenrick, the Communities Secretary, there is “evidence hospitality plays a role" in spreading COVID-19. He told the BBC, "It is commonsensical that the longer you stay in pubs and restaurants, the more likely you are to come into contact with other individuals.
"The more drinks that people have, the more likely that some people are to break the rules."
It is his view that the decision to act now, rather than wait for more “detailed epidemiological evidence to emerge", was the right one. He added that newly implemented restrictions would be "proportionate and localised".
The new measures introduced in central Scotland stipulate all pubs and restaurants are to close, and that establishments in the rest of Scotland must close at 18:00. Further to this, licensed premises can only serve alcohol outdoors.
At least some parts of England may follow suit after the number of COVID-19 infections rose 14,162 in the past 24 hours, with another 70 deaths.
Many areas are already facing tighter restrictions due to their rate of infection rising more rapidly. However, figures also show COVID-19 cases have continued to grow even in places where so-called "local lockdowns" are in force.
The Academy of Medical Colleges’ Helen Stokes-Lampard told the BBC, "Given the recent dramatic spike in both the number of cases and hospital admissions it is clear that we could soon be back to where we were in April if we are not all extremely careful."
The BBC has reported that the Treasury is considering compensating local authorities. They are proposing that they would get £1 per head of population if their area were placed into tier two, and £2 per head for their areas being placed in tier three.
Under the three-tier system, areas would operate under national restrictions, but those placed in the top-tier would face far stricter measures to combat the virus.