PUBS will be shuttered at 9pm if Covid cases do not start falling from the Rule of Six clampdown.
The Sun has learnt an extra meeting of the "Covid Gold Command" of ministers and medics has been hastily organised for Tuesday as the resurgent virus continues to spread around the UK.
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They will discuss how to tackle the creeping figures, with a government source saying last night: "curfew is hurtling up the agenda."
And another admitted pubs shutting early was "a tool in the armoury actively under consideration" but insisted the move was not "imminent" last night.
A minister insisted they were keen to "give the 'Rule of Six' time to have an effect" before taking even more drastic measures.
Such a move would also infuriate the Treasury who are under mounting pressure to extend the furlough job saving scheme for Britain's struggling hospitality sector.
These proposals are unacceptable and if implemented the government risks destroying the Great British pub.
Greg Mulholland from the British Pubs Confederation (BPC) said: "Most pubs are just about getting by and are scarcely profitable.
"If this happens the industry will need a massive level of support, through grants and extended furlough.
"Pubs have been diligently following the rules, making sure people santise and social distance, and that will be the same at 6pm, 9pm or 11pm.
"These proposals are unacceptable and if implemented the government risks destroying the Great British pub."
Bars in Bolton already have to close early in an attempt to curb the rise in cases in the city.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said yesterday that large gatherings of young people are "an issue" but did not speculate on further measures that would be taken nationwide.
When quizzed about a potential curfew for the rest of the country, he told Sky's Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “I think there's an issue about social occasions and social events and particularly young people getting together and enjoying themselves sometimes a bit too much and forgetting the importance of the rules.
“I think it would be idle of me to speculate as to what measures we might have to bring in as we approach the winter.”
'RULE OF SIX'
Today, hundreds of Brits flouted the new "rule of six" laws on the first day today, despite the risk of a £100 fine.
Young people were pictured enjoying the sunshine in large groups across the country, as Brits were urged to dob on anyone breaking the rules.
Police can now issue £100 fines to anyone who meets in a group of more than six people.
That sum will also skyrocket up to £3,200 for people who continue to ignore the restrictions.
What are the new rules?
The new clampdown measures are being introduced across England to lower the number of people meeting in groups indoors and out.
Under the former rules, no more than 30 people can meet inside with up to one other household, but this has been slashed to just six.
The new rules also stipulate that the six people can be from different households, in an attempt to bring rules in line with outdoor gatherings.
Anyone in your support bubble counts as one household.
The rule of six also extends to gatherings organised outside.
No10 added further confusion to the rule today by suggesting police officers would not fine people in the first few days of restrictions.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "What you would expect to happen is for the police to be out today encouraging people to follow the new rules but in the coming days, if we see people continuing to flout the new rules, it is right that people could face a fine.
"The regulations are in place to help to stop the spread of the virus, to protect the NHS and to ultimately save lives."
The new legislation tells Brits they can only meet in groups of up to six people but in certain circumstances are allowed to meet in larger "gatherings" as long as they don't "mingle" with other people who are not a member of their original group of six.
It was also revealed today that hunting and shooting groups will be able to hold gatherings of up to 30 people because of an exemption hat allows licensed "outdoor activity".
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