The culture secretary has said there is “definitely science” behind the 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants, despite scenes of impromptu street parties in cities after closing time across England.
Videos posted to social media on Saturday night show hundreds of people in Liverpool closely packed together outside and echo scenes in London from Friday evening.
Shut everywhere at 10pm then off to the supermarket buy a load of ale and let's have a party. @lpoolcouncil @lcc_licensing @MerPolChiefCon @Bond_media @Johnrashton47 @Distopian @TAXIALLIANCELPO @mayor_anderson @bramell_mark @LivEchonews @TheGuideLpool pic.twitter.com/JYdWrE68mW— Liverpool Nightlife CIC (@NightlifeCIC) September 26, 2020
Day two of a 10pm curfew: Oxford Circus has turned into an impromptu party pic.twitter.com/YTCVdf3GAl— Charlie Haynes (@charliehtweets) September 25, 2020
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden, told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “There is definitely science behind it, that’s why we’re requiring people to be seated in pubs and restaurants, so that stops the flow of them to and from the bar.
“We are reducing the closing times to stop people staying later and drinking. And the point about all of this is that everyone has their part to play. If we all play by the rules, we can ensure that there are not further, more draconian restrictions.”
Dowden’s comments come despite a scientist advising the government saying he had “never heard” the measure discussed at Sage meetings.
And according to a report in The Times, Boris Johnson introduced the curfew measures not based on science or modelling, but because it was “a good symbolic thing because it’s a low-cost way of sending a clear message that things are different”.
In town for chucking out time and this is the situation. Two buses full before we even got near them and queues out the offy next to the stop. This isn’t working. pic.twitter.com/XmF8wfz41I— Emilia Bona (@emiliabonaECHO) September 26, 2020
From Thursday, pubs, bars and restaurants were told to offer table service only – and hospitality, leisure, entertainment and tourism businesses all have to close between 10pm and 5am.
The London Mayor’s office urged Londoners not to congregate at closing times and urged them to follow the guidelines.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.