Pubs could shut in Birmingham as city tightens lockdown rules

Authorities in Birmingham have been granted new powers to shut down restaurants and pubs to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The move comes as the UK’s second-largest city teeters on the brink of a local lockdown, recording 32.2 cases per 100,000 last week, although the rate is falling.

The tougher approach was approved after a meeting between local authority chiefs and the Government’s gold command.

The new powers allow council officials and police to shut down bars and restaurants that do not comply with social distancing guidelines.

Council officers can also shut down weddings and funerals if more than 30 people are present, and they can close, or restrict access to, public outdoor places.

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The council argued the ‘enhanced measures’ would tackle the fact much of the current guidance is ‘not legally enforceable’ at the moment.

The local authority said making the changes ‘strengthens our position to take action where required’.

Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward said ‘staying disciplined now is a price worth paying’.

He said: ‘While the recent figures show our rates are going down, we cannot be complacent.

‘We must all continue to follow all the relevant safety guidance in order to protect our families, friends and work colleagues.’

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