California has closed bars and restaurants again - could the same happen in the UK?

Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 1:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 1:54 pm
Crowds celebrate the reopening of pubs in Soho, London on 4 July. (Credit: Getty Images)

California has reclosed many indoor establishments such as pubs and bars, after coronavirus hospitalisations in the US state rose by more than 50 per cent in the past two weeks.

The number of coronavirus-related deaths there also took a sharp turn, with 149 recorded on 8 July - the second highest number since the pandemic began.

Responding to this sharp increase, Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, announced on the same day that bars and indoor dining would close once again in 19 counties, for at least three weeks.

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Meanwhile, in England, people have been enjoying the return of pubs and bars since 4 July, while in Scotland pubs are set to reopen on Wednesday 15 July. But could the UK pubs face a similar fate to those in California?

Some UK pubs shut days after reopening

After customers were welcomed back to pubs on 4 July, a handful of bars in England had to immediately close their doors, following the news that some customers had tested positive for coronavirus.

At least three establishments revealed they had to shut down again, merely days after reopening.

The Fox & Hounds in Batley, West Yorkshire, the Lighthouse Kitchen and Carvery in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, and The Village Home in Alverstoke, Gosport, were the first three pubs in England to shut again, after businesses were given the go ahead to reopen.

In Batley, West Yorkshire, the Fox and Hounds told the Metro that a customer had phoned to say they had tested positive for coronavirus after visiting. The landlord at the Village Home Pub, revealed an individual in a member of staff's "family bubble" had tested positive.

Leicester’s local lockdown

Leicester became the first area in the UK to put a ‘local lockdown’ in place, due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the area.

This meant that bars and restaurants in the area did not open on 4 July with the rest of the country, and shops that had begun to reopen were ordered to shut again.

In Scotland, although First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that pubs could reopen on 15 July, she stressed that she aimed “to ease lockdown matched with careful monitoring of the virus.”

Therefore the easing of lockdown measures are certainly not set in stone, and depend on the prevalence of the virus.

Which areas could be at risk of local lockdowns?

According to data from Public Health England, for the week dating 2 to 9 July, compared with the week dating 25 June to 2 July, the areas with the greatest increase in new coronavirus cases in the UK are:

Herefordshire - 70 cases up from 6 (1,066.7% rise)Wakefield, Yorkshire - 69 cases up from 34 (102.9% rise)Peterborough - 56 up from 30 cases (86.7% rise)Northamptonshire - 107 up from 69 cases (55.1% rise)Lancashire - 120 up from 77 (55.8% rise)