The harsh new measures were outlined by Johnson in parliament on Tuesday. They include strict new social-distancing rules, an order that pubs be shut by 10pm and a slash in the size of wedding congregations.
Masks were also made mandatory in a range of settings, and the fines for failing to wear one have been doubled to £200 ($256) for a first offense.
In a stark warning to the British public, Johnson signaled that the restrictions may be in place for “perhaps six months.” The prime minister also cautioned people against complacency, saying it could hamper the UK’s efforts to combat the virus.
“After six months of restrictions, it would be tempting to hope the threat has faded and to seek comfort in the belief that, if you have avoided the virus so far, then you are somehow immune,” he said.
“That sort of complacency could be our undoing. If we fail to act together now, we not only put others at risk but jeopardise our own futures with the more drastic action that we will inevitably be forced to take.”
People have argued online that forcing UK drinking establishments to close by 10pm would be ineffective against the coronavirus. The government is expected to propose new restrictions amid a surge in COVID-19 “cases”.
Pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be forced to close their doors by 10pm starting from Thursday, UK media reported. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce the new rule in parliament on Tuesday evening, along with other additional measures to fight Covid-19.
Britain’s coronavirus alert level was recently upgraded from three to four (out of five), with medical officials warning that the cases are “rising rapidly and probably exponentially.”
However, the idea of making pubs close early was met with disbelief and ridicule online.
“Can someone please explain to me the logic of the 10pm curfew: is there a higher rate of infection after 9.59?” one person wrote on Twitter.
“So COVID-19 doesn’t infect during business hours?” another skeptical commenter wondered.
People argued on social media that the curfew would be useless because patrons would either “get drunk faster before the pubs close,” or go out earlier and buy more drinks to “compensate for the reduced hours.”
Some, on the other hand, insisted that the new restrictions would be effective if “policed properly.”
“By limiting the amount of drinking time available should reduce the amount of people getting drunk,” one person noted.
Others said that the government was forced to consider the curfew only after people had failed to wear masks and follow existing social distancing rules. “Count your lucky stars that the pubs aren’t being closed entirely because that will be next if people don’t comply to the rules,” one Twitter user stated.
To tackle the alarming rise in daily Covid-19 cases, the government delayed the next step of easing the quarantine rules in late July and introduced tougher regulations on mass gatherings earlier this month.
As of Monday, the UK has had 398,625 coronavirus “cases” and 41,788 deaths, according to government data.
Remember three important rules that must never be broken:
do not expose the mogwai [gremlin] to light, especially sunlight, which will kill it,
do not let it come in contact with water, and above all,
never feed it after midnight.