The government has clarified what Greater Manchester’s new local lockdown restrictions mean for restaurants, pubs and bars after Matt Hancock sparked anger and confusion on Thursday evening
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People will still be able to meet friends and family in pub beer gardens under Greater Manchester’s new local lockdown measures, the government has finally confirmed.
Tightened restrictions announced on Thursday night to curb rising rates of coronavirus have banned members of different households from meeting indoors, unless they are in a support bubble together.
The rule applies to private homes and gardens, as well as inside restaurants, pubs and bars.
But conflicting advice led to confusion today over whether people from different households can continue to socialise in beer gardens and outdoor restaurant terraces, the Manchester Evening News can reveal.
Official guidance released for the north west of England this morning referred only to indoor areas at restaurants, cafes and bars.
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock issued conflicting information, telling BBC Breakfast viewers: “Meeting another household in pub gardens or outdoor restaurant space is not allowed under the new restrictions.”
It now states: “You can continue to meet in public outdoor spaces including outdoor seating or beer gardens in groups of no more than 6 people, unless the group includes only people from two households.”
Customers dining or drinking indoors will only be able to sit with people they live with, or members of their support bubble.
Meeting up in private gardens is still banned – and new laws will be passed to enforce it.
Police will be able to ask people meeting in private homes and gardens to disperse and issue fixed penalty notices starting at £100 – halving to £50 if paid in the first 14 days – and doubling for repeat offences.
Restaurant and bar owners in Manchester say they have been hit by a wave of cancellations – including for outdoor bookings – as a result of last night’s announcement and the subsequent confusion over beer gardens.
Greater Manchester’s night time economy adviser Sacha Lord said it was imperative to slow the spread of the virus but said the ‘sudden and shocking’ measures would be another ‘hammer blow’ to the hard-hit hospitality industry.
He said: “As a sector already on its knees, it’s inevitable we will now see cancellations and reduced footfall across restaurants, pubs and bars, and I am also very concerned for the hotels in the area who are already struggling with a lack of tourism, football and events.
“To the general public, I want to make it clear that venues are still open for business and ready to welcome you. Within your household, please try and support your locals and favourites during this tough time. Many are taking part in the Eat Out To Help Out scheme from Monday, and I encourage you to enjoy what our region has to offer, albeit in a safe way.
“If you have a reservation booked over the next few weeks that is now no longer viable, please make sure you cancel or amend bookings to give our operators time to plan ahead and offer them the best chance of pulling through this.”
News – Meeting in beer gardens allowed – but not homes or gardens in new lockdown rules