Pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be forced to close by 10pm from Thursday, Boris Johnson is set to announce.
The Prime Minister will address the nation on Tuesday evening to outline new measures to tackle the sharp rise in coronavirus cases.
The news comes hours after it was revealed that one York city centre bar had seen four members of staff test positive for Covid-19.
The staff, from Manahatta on Little Stonegate, are now self isolating.
A spokesperson for owners Arc Inspirations said: “We are in contact with Public Health England following confirmation that four employees at our Manahatta bar in York have tested positive for Covid-19.
“In line with Government guidance, those individuals are now self-isolating and we are supporting them during this period. We continue to implement a rigorous cleaning regime across all our sites, as well as a range of other measures designed to keep our team members and customers safe.”
Mr Johnson will chair meetings of Cabinet and the Cobra emergency committee – including the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – ahead of a live, televised address at 8pm.
The Prime Minister is expected to set out further ways the country can confront coronavirus in line with the scientific advice.
It comes after the UK’s four chief medical officers recommended raising the Covid alert level from three to four – the second highest – indicating the “epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially”.
And earlier on Monday, Sir Patrick Vallance – the chief scientific adviser – said the UK could see 50,000 Covid-19 cases a day by mid-October and a daily death toll of 200 or more a month later unless urgent action is taken.
Many pubs ‘won’t survive’
The news comes just hours after a leading York publican said “many pubs are already on the edge and could not survive any further restrictions to trade”.
Paul Crossman, licensee of The Swan, The Slip Inn and Volunteer Arms in York, is also chair of the national Campaign For Pubs.
Earlier today he wrote to Boris Johnson to urge him not to order a new lockdown or curfew.
“We are dismayed at suggestions of a national curfew or a second national lockdown. Both things would be disastrous for pubs – and without significant support direct to pubs and publicans (of which none is currently available) there would be many pub closures and the loss of many thousands of job,” he wrote.
“The reality is that any decision to impose further restrictions on pubs threatens the livelihoods of thousands of people. It risks the failure of many pub businesses and the permanent closure of thousands of pubs, irrevocably changing the face of this country, its villages, towns and cities.”
And the continuing change and uncertainty has seen York publicans take to Twitter to voice their concerns.