COVID: Will pubs and restaurants close under harsher New Year restrictions?

Whitehall officials have plans to enforce more restrictions by reducing the numbers in pubs and restaurants and even closing them to curb the spread of the Omicron variant.

Pubs and Restaurants could get closed under harsher New Year restrictions
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Pubs and Restaurants could get closed under harsher New Year restrictions

There are mounting concerns that further limitations would be imposed after Christmas. This comes as Omicron is predicted to peak in January, putting New Year's Eve celebrations in jeopardy. Government measures to block the spread of the COVID-19 could shut down hospitality firms within weeks. A government official confirmed,

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You will be able to see your family at Christmas, but at this rate, you might not be able to do it in a pub. As for New Year’s Eve, that is a different story.

However, MPs privately warn that any attempt to reinstate previous limitations such as the Rule of Six or a ban on household mixing will be resisted.

Possible further limitation

As the Omicron variant claimed its first victim, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said there were no plans for any additional steps. More than one-fifth of Tory MPs are expected to vote against Boris Johnson tomorrow night, as the violent revolt over vaccine passports reaches 80 members. Despite the PM's majority being wiped out, No10 has determined to carry on with the vote, despite grave warnings of a backlash if Plan C limits are imposed.

However, with the support of Sir Keir Starmer's Labour, Covid passes for nightclubs, mega-bars, and stadiums are set to float through the Commons. Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said that Britons will be able to enjoy the holiday season with their family, but he did not rule out further limitations. He added,

These issues are always discussed. We have got Plan B, that's what we think is required over the Christmas period.

Mr Raab also defended vaccine passports, claiming that concerns over them are overstated and that they aren't the start of a slippery slope of limitations.

Tory MPs rebel

He added he would be astonished if 80 Tory MPs voted against No 10 in the crucial vote over their introduction. Senior Tory rebel Marcus Fysh has been chastised for comparing the planned coronavirus health passes being introduced to stop the spread of Omicron to Nazi horrors.

The number of MPs predicted to vote against the PM in the Commons greatly outnumbers the 56 needed to force an internal vote of confidence in him. However, it falls short of the 181 needed to defeat him.

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