Boris Johnson has warned the ban on pubs will be ‘strictly’ enforced, as the government desperately tries to control the coronavirus outbreak.
The prime minister announced on Friday he was stripping the ‘ancient inalienable right of freeborn people of the United Kingdom to go to the pub’ – as well as closing all gyms, clubs, theaters, cinemas, restaurants and leisure centers.
When asked by reporters how the new rules would be implemented, he responded saying ‘clearly there are licensing arrangements which will make it relatively simple to do should that really be necessary’.
The Tory leader added that the closures would be enforced ‘strictly’ but did not go into further detail on measures that would be taken.
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It remains unclear whether police could be drafted into impose the ban, or what punishments could come into play if establishments attempted to remain open.
Mr Johnson said he believed Britons could see the ‘imperative in protecting the NHS and saving lives’ and would do what was necessary.
He added: ‘I do accept that what we’re doing is extraordinary – we’re taking away the ancient inalienable right of freeborn people of the United Kingdom to go to the pub. And I can understand how people feel about that.
‘But I say to people who do go against the advice that we’re getting, the very clear advice that we’re getting from our medical and scientific experts, you know you’re not only putting your own life, the lives of your family, at risk – you’re endangering the community.
‘And you’re making it more difficult for us to get on and protect the NHS and save lives. And if you comply, if people comply as I say, then we will not only save lives, thousands of lives, but we’ll come out of this thing all the faster. ’
The nationwide closures are due to reviewed each month, although government scientists have said social distancing may need to last a lot longer than the weeks the prime minister suggested on Thursday.
A National Police Chiefs ’Council spokesman said they expected business owners would‘ want to support the measures designed to keep us all safe ’.
He added: ‘We will police as normal. If officers see specified businesses open, they will remind them of the Government advice. ’
A spokesman for the Local Government Association, the membership body for councils, which issues licenses, said: ‘We are waiting to see further details but councils would expect locations to responsibly follow the instruction from the Government.’
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