LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced criticism on Wednesday, after he introduced new curfews on pubs and restaurants in England and encouraged remote working — restrictions that could remain in place for six months.
In his announcement Tuesday, Johnson outlined a raft of new constraints for England. Starting Thursday, pubs and restaurants will offer table service only and have to close by 10 p.m. Johnson also said that if people can work from home, they should — an about-face from a previous push by the government for people to return to their workplaces and help revive city centers.
The measures were more modest than many that reportedly had been under discussion, including a two-week mini-lockdown, but they still faced criticism from business groups and the hospitality sector, which are bracing for the economic fallout.
Some said Wednesday that the measures are insufficient. Speaking to the BBC, epidemiologist John Edmunds called the early closure of pubs and restaurants “fairly trivial.”
“Overall, I don’t think the measures have gone anywhere near far enough,” he said.
Rising infection numbers and hospitalization rates have raised concerns over a second surge in coronavirus cases. On Monday, top government scientists predicted the country could face 50,000 coronavirus cases a day by mid-October if it stays on its current trajectory.