COVID-19 curfew land: Where chicken wings result in a police warning
It's 10.40pm and a man has just bought some chicken wings in Oldham.
The pandemic has brought us to the point where moments later the police and council officials are ticking off the owner of the takeaway for breaking the law.
The police officers don't really want to be curtailing someone's livelihood, the council certainly hasn't got the budget to be doing it, but the rules from central government introduced this week mean they are here in the chicken shop issuing a written warning. Next time it'll be a £1,000 fine.
Oldham has had five weeks of tight COVID-19 restrictions but the infection rates are still rising. Now the curfew means a Friday night out in town is a soulless experience. The craic has gone.
Calling time at 9:30pm will never feel normal but the bars, pubs and clubs that were open had already been warned that 10pm is the new cut off. Doors closed at 10pm – not supping up and slowly winding up the conversation.
Every bar and pub we saw did what's been asked of them.
The takeaways haven't all got the message, some feigning ignorance, but their excuses aren't cutting it with the licensing team who are issuing the warnings and penalties.
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They've been told to make the curfew work. Encouraging and engaging first but making sure non-compliance is called out.