The 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants could be scrapped in England when the coronavirus lockdown is lifted on December 2.
In an attempt to boost the hospitality industry, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is understood to be extend opening hours by another hour, giving punters until 11pm before boozers have to clear out.
Last orders are likely to be 10pm, but unlike the situation before the national lockdown began on November 5, when non-essential venues and shops closed, people will have another hour to finish up their drinks according to reports.
It is hoped that the new measures will prevent crowds to gathering on the street at closing time, which happened on a regular basis when the curfew was 10pm.
The previous curfew, introduced in September, was heavily criticised but a minister said the new one has widespread support.
The insider told the Daily Mail: "10pm last orders and being allowed to stay longer sounds eminently sensible."
Mr Johnson will likely announce the plan to Parliament on Monday after the Cabinet signs it off today.
Reaction to the news by the public has hardly been overwhelmingly positive.
Barry Bates wrote on Facebook: "So last orders in the pubs will be 10.00 o’clock and shut at 11.00. So at 10.00 o’clock everyone will order 3-4 drinks & put them on the table.
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"They have an hour to drink them.Can’t c the point really, why not just say last orders at 10.50, time at 11.00. 20 mins drinking up time. That’s how it used to be & it works."
Stephen Thompson commented: "So it's an 11pm curfew instead, hope this confuses the virus. Everyone tipping out at 11pm should throw it off its guard, eh?"
And Rachael Hetterley added: "So at 10pm customers will panic buy, to ensure they have enough to drink to see them through until 11pm kick out time…..yep thats gonna make sense isnt it!"
The PM will address the nation to confirm lockdown will end on December 2 and to set out new plans going forward.
Covid restrictions in England will be tweaked from before the second lockdown to create a tougher tier system, with more areas facing severe constraints.
A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said: "The Prime Minister and his scientific advisors are clear the virus is still present – and without regional restrictions it could quickly run out of control again before vaccines and mass testing have had an effect.
"That would put in jeopardy the progress the country has made, and once again risk intolerable pressure on the NHS."
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