Pubs, bars, restaurants, and cafes in Northern Ireland must close by 11 p.m., the country’s government announced Tuesday.
The restriction follows a similar 10 p.m. curfew imposed on hospitality venues in Scotland, England and Wales last week.
The new rules will come into force from midnight on Wednesday, with “no exemptions” for weddings and social events.
“No alcohol or food will be served after 10.30 p.m. and all customers must leave by 11.00 p.m.,” the country’s First Minister Arlene Foster said Tuesday.
“In practice this brings the normal closing times forward by half an hour and there will be no late licenses.”
Foster added: “The intention behind the earlier closing time is that socializing later in the evening is considered to increase the risk of virus spreading because people adhere to the rules less strictly after consuming alcohol and in venues where they are used to mixing freely.”
The First Minister also said that her government recognizes the risk of the curfew driving people to house parties. But she warned that under current restrictions, social gatherings are illegal.
Northern Ireland has reported more than 10,949 cases and 578 deaths.