Brits are predicting a rise in illegal house parties in response to the 10pm pub curfew.
From tonight last orders in boozers across England will be 10pm, one of a raft of measures implemented by the government in a bid to curb a rise in coronavirus infections.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the latest lockdown restrictions could last for as long as six months but many expect thirsty pubgoers to find alternative opportunities for heavy drinking sessions.
Members of the public and hospitality industry chiefs are adamant this rule will not have an impact on the coronavirus figures.
One person tweeted: "Meet earlier at pub! Pub busier as many do the same! Drink more in a shorter space of time! All leave pub at some time! (Customary punch ups and vomiting commence). Don't let this party stop let's all cram round a friends house!"
Another added: "This 10pm curfew ain't gonna do jack. Will kill off pubs and mean many more scurry off back for illegal house parties."
A third joked: "Who is going to leave the pub at 10pm and go well im going home see you tomorrow. More like whose having the house party the night."
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Pub and restaurant bosses feel they are been unfairly targeted with a policy they claim is not backed up by scientific evidence.
They also believe many punters will go on to break the law by moving on to illicit house parties after kicking out time. Current regulations mean people cannot meet in groups of more than six people for social gatherings.
Andy Crawford, who runs 30 pubs in the Nottingham area, said: "It's very disappointing that the government have chosen to target hospitality with a curfew, so soon after reopening.
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"I believe that introducing a curfew will only encourage more house parties."
Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said: "The curfew will lead to the demise of many of our beloved cultural and entertainment venues.
"Businesses in the night-time economy are both shocked and disappointed by the government's continued targeting of restrictions on late-night venues and bars, partially open at a fraction of their capacity, when they have admitted that the majority of transmission takes place in households.
"As a result of this measure, we foresee a surge of unregulated events and house parties which are the real hot beds of infection, attended by frustrated young people denied access to safe and legitimate night-time hospitality venues."
The clampdown also includes the whole of the hospitality sector being restricted to table service after government medical chiefs raised the Covid-19 alert level from three to four, meaning transmission is "high or raising exponentially".
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove claims there was evidence the 10pm closing time has had a "beneficial effect" in the areas where the restriction has already been tried, such as Bolton, Greater Manchester.
But a quarter of hospitality businesses think they could fail in the next three months without further government support.
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