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Wednesday, Nov 25, 2020

Alcohol sales could be banned in shops after 9pm to stop post-pub parties

Alcohol shouldn’t be sold in shops after 9pm to prevent huge crowds packing streets and houses after pubs close, the mayor of Manchester has suggested.
Andy Burnham has called for the Government to lift the 10pm pub curfew, saying his ‘gut feeling’ is that it is ‘doing more harm than good’.

However, if the new crackdown does remain in place, new measures should be introduced to put a stop to post-curfew house parties, the Labour politician said.

It comes after pictures from the weekend showed large groups of people singing, dancing and partying on the streets after being kicked out of pubs in Birmingham, Liverpool and York.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing backlash over the 10pm curfew after Public Health England figures revealed pubs and restaurants caused just 3% of England’s outbreaks in the week before new restrictions hit.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Mr Burnham said he had received police reports of supermarkets being ‘absolutely packed out to the rafters and lots of people gathering after 10pm’.

Calling for an ‘urgent review’ of the new rules, he said: ‘My gut feeling is that this curfew is doing more harm than good.

‘It is potentially contradictory. It creates an incentive for people to gather in the streets or more probably, to gather in the home.

‘That is the opposite of what our local restrictions here are trying to do.’

He continued: ‘I’m not here to score points, I’m looking for solutions here. I can understand what the government is trying to do.’

‘Let me give some suggestions. Perhaps there could be a 9pm curfew on the sale of alcohol in supermarkets and shops that would prevent the rush to shops once pubs have closed. That’s what we certainly saw on Saturday.

‘The government has said the 10pm curfew is based on Belgium, but they also have police to disperse people on the streets.’

‘If it is doing more harm and damaging businesses, then the government shouldn’t just plough on with it. It certainly requires urgent attention.’

Council leaders have warned the hospitality sector faces ‘complete decimation’ in Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester if coronavirus restrictions are not immediately reviewed.

The Government’s new crackdown will ‘result in mass-market failure, huge levels of redundancies and depleted and boarded up high streets’, the leaders and chief executives of the three city councils cautioned in a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Business Secretary Alok Sharma this week.
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