A sign hangs on the closed door of a restaurant saying'we're closed'

Pubs, bars, and restaurants may have to close doors at 10pm (Picture: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The UK could be subject to a 10pm curfew as coronavirus cases soar, according to reports.

The news comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock blamed the recent surge in cases on ‘affluent young people’ who are more likely to be out socialising.

In a bid to curb this, venues could reportedly be forced to close their doors at 10pm, and customers encouraged to go home.

But how likely is a curfew, and would it even help to lower coronavirus cases?

Will the UK be given a curfew?

Although rumours of a curfew in England have been reported, there is no official indication yet from the Government that this is being considered.

And with health being a devolved issue, authorities in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland may decide to follow suit or impose their own restrictions.

A senior Government source told The Daily Telegraph that ministers are considering imposing a wider curfew – similar to the one in place in Bolton – in a bid to keep infections under control.

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In an attempt to lower coronavirus cases and avoid a curfew, Boris Johnson has introduced the ‘rule of six’, making it illegal for groups of more than six to have a social gathering from Monday, September 14.

Which places in the UK are currently under curfew?

A local curfew was introduced to Bolton on September 8 after it was revealed the town had the highest rates of the virus in the country.

Restaurants, pubs, cafes, bars, and any other kind of hospitality service must close at 10pm. They are not permitted to reopen until 5am the next morning.

Residents are allowed to leave their homes during the curfew.

Bolton residents are already banned from meeting up with other households as part of wider measures introduced across all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester in August.

Currently, there are no other locations in the UK under curfew.

A man in Bolton city centre, where a local curfew is currently in place

Bolton is already under local curfew (Credits: Phil Taylor / SWNS)

Would a curfew lower coronavirus cases?

It is too early to speculate whether the Bolton curfew has been effective or not as symptoms can take up to 10 days to show.

Chair of the Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee, Jeremy Hunt, asked Health Secretary Matt Hancock if ministers look to South Korea and Hong Kong as examples of good practice for stemming an increase in cases and avoiding a second lockdown.

Mr Hancock replied: ‘In some countries, not only in the Far East but also closer to home, they have seen a rise in cases especially among younger people, taken action and that has turned the curve.

‘That’s particularly true, for instance, in Belgium which we were very worried about a month ago but the case rate has come right down when they put a curfew in place.’

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty presented a graph showing the UK’s case rate compared to European countries, saying it proves ‘what happens if we do nothing in this situation’ as opposed to ‘if we intervene effectively’.

In late May 2020, the United States implemented some of their own curfews.

Citywide curfews were enacted in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Columbus, Denver, Philadelphia, Memphis, Washington DC, New York City, Seattle, and many more. Arizona enacted a statewide curfew.

Most of the curfews stopped business between 9 or 10pm until the early hours the next day. However, Philadelphia experienced a 6pm-6am curfew, and Beverly Hills a 1pm curfew.

Punishments for breaking curfew varied state to state, with a $500 (£385) fine being the norm. However, if you broke curfew in New York City you could face up to 90 days in jail.

Whether these US curfews worked or not is an ongoing political debate.

MORE: Whole of UK could be hit by 10pm curfew in bid to avoid second wave

MORE: What are the new rules around social gatherings in England – can I still see my friends and family?

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