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UK News Drinkers flock to bars in Glasgow and Edinburgh for one last night out

12:15  09 october  2020
12:15  09 october  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Five Edinburgh drinkers raise their glasses for a final time before the hospitality sector is hit tonight by the new rukes. Groups walked home after their last drink in Edinburgh , bracing Hordes of drinkers headed home after closing time at 10pm in Glasgow city, ahead of the drinking ban coming in today.

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a person standing in front of a crowd: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Drinkers in Scotland partied to closing time last night as they did anything but toast Nicola Sturgeon's incoming 16-day alcohol ban.

Groups enjoyed the chance to have one final pint in Glasgow and Edinburgh before the sweeping restriction comes in at 6pm this evening.

Scotland's First Minister imposed the two-week alcohol ban inside pubs and restaurants across the country and closed bars entirely in coronavirus hotspot areas.

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One of Edinburgh 's best-known bars , The Three Sisters is a popular spot among locals and students alike. With a huge outdoor courtyard, as well as cosy A secret speakeasy bar in Edinburgh city centre, Cask Smugglers is themed around Scotland's whisky smuggling past. There are 12 signature

Go outside and check out the very best beer gardens to drink outdoors in Glasgow and top up your Join them for late night sessions complete with a log fire, TVs screening live sport, plenty of seating Alfresco drinks go down a treat here, with craft beer fiends flocking for hops and a menu of hearty

It comes as punters were out and about in the North of England as it also faces tougher anti-Covid measures, with tens of thousands of venues across the region threatened with temporary closure from next week.

The move has risked a huge amount of jobs and seen Chancellor Rishi Sunak poised to announce a new local furlough scheme, expected to pay two thirds of the wages of employees unable to work in lockdown.

Sources at the Treasury have already confirmed he will be making an announcement later on how he intends to 'provide a safety net' for businesses which 'may have to close in the coming weeks'.

Mr Sunak will also seem likely to be dismayed by new Office of National Statistics figures that have dashed hopes of a V-shaped recovery to the economy after lockdown.

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Worrying  statistics showed gross domestic product rose by just 2.1% in August compared with the previous month's 6.6% - confounding economists' hopes for a monthly growth rate of 4.6%.

Moves to close or hamper businesses from being able to operate properly due to coronavirus restrictions would appear to cement further economic disappointment next month.

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Scotland's closures have been branded a 'death sentence' for hundreds of venues and has been slated by frustrated members of the public.

Ms Sturgeon took the unpopular decision after this week warning cases had started to surge among the older generation.

She told MSPs at Holyrood that the situation was 'better than March', but admitted she needed to take a 'backward step' as she unveiled a dramatic 'circuit breaker' squeeze to coincide with the school half-term north of the border.

As well as a ban on serving alcohol, hospitality venues will only be allowed to open from 6am to 6pm as Ms Sturgeon said without the crackdown the virus could be 'out of control by the end of this month'.

But in five 'hotspot' areas in Scotland's central belt, which includes Edinburgh and Glasgow and is home to approximately 70 per cent of the population, pubs will be closed altogether apart from takeaways until October 26 and people will be advised against using public transport.

Hospitality bosses last night described the decision as a 'total catastrophe' that will be the 'final straw,' for hundreds of venues.

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Buses traveling from Edinburgh to Glasgow depart from Edinburgh 's Elder Street bus station and take at least 1 :10 h to arrive at Glasgow 's Buchanan bus station. Taking a bus is €10 cheaper on average when compared with taking a train, while only taking 20 minutes longer to arrive in Glasgow .

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Sector chiefs said Ms Sturgeon had 'effectively signed a death sentence for many businesses' and said the 'real problem' was socialising at home.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association told the Telegraph more than two-thirds of pubs, bars and restaurants 'could be mothballed or go under', along with more than half the sector's jobs.

Meanwhile, Mr Hancock appeared to pave the way for a similar localised crackdown on pubs in England as he said that 'outside your household and socialising between households, the highest place in incidence of likely transmission, measured by where people have contacts, is unfortunately hospitality'.

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However, a targeted shutdown of hospitality venues in hotspot areas appears more likely than a nationwide approach, with Downing Street still committed to its strategy of local lockdowns in specific areas where the virus has spiked.

Imposing some of the toughest restrictions in Europe, Ms Sturgeon said that if it was 'a purely one dimensional decision' about tackling the disease there would be even harsher action, but she was considering the wider economy and wellbeing.

But it provoked howls of protest from the hospitality industry, who branded the clampdown a 'total catastrophe' and warned a swathe of business will go under permanently.

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The extraordinary step - which Ms Sturgeon said would be accompanied with £40million of new compensation for stricken firms - came as Scotland reported more than 1,000 new infections in a day.

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Just south of the border, ministers were accused of using flimsy data after they relied on figures based on fewer than 100 pubs to justify the potential closure of tens of thousands of venues across the North of England.

No10 faced a concerted backlash from local leaders and MPs over plans to subject millions of people living in the North to even tougher restrictions from next week.

One Tory MP said the data had been 'cobbled together' to justify the pub closures, using a three-month-old survey carried out in the US as well as cherry-picked figures.

Sir Keir Starmer accused Boris Johnson of causing 'confusion, chaos and unfairness' by revealing the exact measures will be announced next week, while they are still being discussed.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty briefed 149 MPs from the North and the Midlands yesterday to tell them that a 'significant proportion' of exposure to coronavirus was happening in the hospitality sector.

He showed them a table which suggested that 32 per cent of transmission may be occurring in pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants, with only 2.6 per cent taking place in the home.

But the MPs complained the information was 'selective' and clearly serving the Government's purpose.

They pointed out how the NHS Test and Trace figures show a huge 75.3 per cent of transmissions take place home, with only 5.5 per cent happening in pubs, restaurants and churches.

It also emerged last night that the Public Health England data was based on a very small sample size.  It derived from contact tracing data referring to just 98 pubs and 67 cafes and restaurants.

A PHE spokesman said each reported case referred to two separate Covid-positive patients who had been in the same venue within the past week. But the data is not able to assert if they caught the virus in the same place.

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A Department of Health spokesman said 'enhanced' contract tracing suggested the place of infection was in hospitality venues.

Included in the dossier given by Chris Whitty was a Cabinet Office document marked 'official sensitive' which referenced a report from July from the US Centres for Disease Control.

The study found people that of the 154 people who had tested positive, they were around twice as likely to have dined at a restaurant in the previous two weeks before they experienced symptoms.

One Tory MP from a Red Wall seat told The Telegraph: 'It was very clear to everyone on the call that they had cobbled together this data as a retrospective attempt to justify closing pubs.

The document that spilled the beans

The controversial data quoted by Professor Whitty is based on an 'enhanced contact tracing' exercise, the Department of Health said.

It asks people who they met – and where they met them. But it is based on a very small sample.

If two infected people both tell tracers that they have been to a venue in the past week, it is seen as an indication, but not proof, that the virus may have been transmitted between them.

But they don't even have had to be there at the same time.

The data shows there were 98 occasions where two or more people told contact tracers they had been to the same pub.

Another 67 cases referred to people having been to the same cafe or restaurant.

'Given what we know from the official NHS figures, why are they quoting data from a tiny survey carried out in America? It's just meaningless.'

Last night the British Beer and Pub Association warned the Government that the data was not good enough to justify the closure of pubs.

One expert suggested 7,000 venues across the North would be forced to close. But Downing Street denied that any decisions had yet been taken on lockdown measures.

One Tory MP who attended the briefing said: 'It is clear that the data to justify further action on hospitality is incredibly thin. It is so weak they can't even publish it.'

Professor Whitty also appeared to suggest that the national 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants introduced last month was based on nothing more than the fact that other countries had imposed it.

Last night northern politicians lined up to condemn the Prime Minister for the 'reckless' plan to close all pubs and restaurants in the worst-hit areas.

Andy Burnham, the Labour mayor for Greater Manchester, told BBC Radio 4's World At One: 'I will not any more put up with a situation where they impose things on the North of England that will cause real damage to people's lives.'

And Emma McClarkin, of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: 'We are still yet to see the hard evidence in England that blanket measures to lock down pubs, with their strict adherence to government guidelines, will significantly stop the spread of the virus.'

But Ben Bradley, Tory MP for Mansfield, who took part in the call, said: 'We talked about the North West and North East in particular, where we were talking about – in three weeks' time – having hospitalisation levels higher than in the original peak.'

Meanwhile Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships Gillian Keegan said Britain was in an 'unbelievably serious situation'.

She said the government had to act to stem the spike in coronavirus cases, saying to BBC: 'This is serious - it is getting out of control, and we have to do something to bring it back under control.'

But she added: 'We definitely need to work locally and we definitely need to make sure that the communications are much clearer.'

Steve Rotheram, the mayor of the Liverpool City Region, told ITV's Good Morning Britain: 'Quite simply the North should not be a petri dish for experimentation by central government.'

Sir Keir Starmer also wrote in The Telegraph, saying how people are facing a 'weekend of uncertainty' because of the delay in announcing the new three-tier system.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick yesterday came close to confirming that action is looming.

'It is correct to say the number of cases in the North West and the North East and a number of cities, particularly in the Midlands like Nottingham, are rising fast and that is a serious situation,' he said.

'We are currently considering what steps we should take, obviously taking the advice of our scientific and medical advisers, and a decision will be made shortly.'

He added it was 'commonsensical' that the longer people spent in pubs together, the higher the risk of infection was, as he backed the 10pm curfew.

Altus Group, a real estate advisor, estimated that 7,200 pubs in the North could be closed down – one in five of all English pubs.

Last night a Government spokesman admitted that the 'early analysis' did not constitute proof of transmission.

'We are seeing coronavirus cases rise across the country, with particularly fast growth in the North East and North West,' he said.

'We constantly monitor the data and are considering a range of options to suppress the virus, protect communities and save lives.'

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Two-week Christmas advert blitz kicks off to ease retail pressure .
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