The tough new regional lockdowns unveiled on October 12 ordered the closure of hundreds of pubs in the north-west of England for four weeks from 5pm on Wednesday.
Six boroughs in Liverpool, covering 1.6 million people, were the first to be placed in the highest tier of new restrictions. Pubs, gyms, casinos, bookmakers and social clubs will shut for at least one month, and possibly up to six.
Regions deemed at highest risk could also face bans on households mixing indoors and outdoors, on overnight stays outside their area and on all but essential travel for work or education in or beyond the region.
These additional restrictions are not expected to be enforced in Liverpool for the time being. However, the Army logistics corps has been called up to help with Covid testing and contact tracing in the region through mobile centres staffed by soldiers, and the Government has provided additional funds to pay for officials to help enforce the new rules.
Two-thirds of the population of Wales are now living under additional measures after gradual local lockdown restrictions came into place throughout September. Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan are the latest Welsh regions to have new rules imposed.
Pubs, restaurants and cafes in most of Scotland are currently barred from selling alcohol indoors for more than two weeks as part of efforts to curb Covid-19.
Five health board areas – Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley – are under stricter restrictions, with pubs and licensed cafes shut to all but takeaway customers for the same period.
The measures came into force at 6pm on October 9, for 16 days until October 25.
People in the five health boards under tougher restrictions have also been asked to avoid public transport unless absolutely necessary, and use it only when travelling to work, school or for other unavoidable reasons.
While a travel restriction is not being enforced on people in these areas, Nicola Sturgeon urged residents not to travel beyond their own health boards, and for those elsewhere in Scotland not to visit them.
Snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls closed in these areas for two weeks from October 10, with contact sports and indoor group exercise for those 18 and over suspended for the same period.
Outdoor live events are banned in the five areas until October 25.
The new restrictions will not apply for weddings which are already booked and funerals.
The First Minister stressed the changes do not amount to a new lockdown such as that imposed in March and schools will remain open, with no requirement for people to stay inside their homes.
Could there be a short ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown?
Boris Johnson overruled government scientists who pressed for national lockdown measures such as a circuit breaker stopping all household mixing and closing all pubs, it emerged on October 12.
On Monday night, newly released Sage papers, dated September 20 and 21, revealed the scientists called for the immediate consideration of five national measures, saying none of them would be sufficient on its own.
“The shortlist of non-pharmaceutical interventions that should be considered for immediate introduction includes a circuit-breaker (short period of lockdown) to return incidence to low levels; advice to work from home for all those that can; banning all contact within the home with members of other households, except members of a support bubble; closure of all bars, restaurants, cafes, indoor gyms and personal services (eg hairdressers); all university and college teaching to be online unless face-to-face teaching is absolutely essential,” the papers said.
A related paper warned: “As over 90 per cent of the population remains susceptible, not acting now to reduce cases will result in a very large epidemic with catastrophic consequences in terms of direct Covid-related deaths and the ability of the health service to meet needs.
“A package of interventions will need to be adopted to prevent this exponential rise in cases. Single interventions are unlikely to be able to reduce incidence.”