A 10PM curfew could “spell disaster” for Southend’s night time economy as it attempts to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Downing Street has failed to deny reports that curfews were being considered to slow the spread of Covid-19 - with options on the table ranging from curfews to pubs closing entirely.

Southend Council bosses stated they would be “extremely disappointed” if a curfew was introduced, particularly after the efforts of businesses to bounce back after lockdown was eased.

It comes as Public Health England data revealed 23.4 cases are now diagnosed for every 100,000 people aged between 40 and 49 - up from 12.4 at the end of August.

The tough new measures could be imposed within two weeks if the new rule of six does not work but schools will be kept open Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted.

Kevin Robinson, councillor responsible for business, culture and tourism, said: “People have been fairly good at keeping up social distancing and wearing masks in Southend with the result we have had a fairly low infection rate.

"If it stays at that level then I would be extremely disappointed if the Government then said at 10pm everything must shut down.

“It would be disappointing if all the efforts of Southend businesses and the community were ignored.”

Essex Chamber of Commerce said the move would be a blow to Southend businesses, which are just beginning to recover from the lockdown.

David Burch, director of policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: “Our view is that we want to see appropriate measures put in place to help bring the end of coronavirus and any further spike but we are concerned about the 10pm curfew.

“The night time economy is very important to places like Southend. The Southend economy is coming back to life but it is still not what it was before coronavirus.

“We have very serious concerns about this because of the further stress it would place on the night time economy.

“This needs to be thought about very carefully.”

Asked about reports that a curfew could be introduced, a Number 10 spokesman today said: “We will continue to keep the transmission rate under review.

"We’ve introduced the rule of six to try and bear down on the transmission rate given that it has risen recently. But as I say we will keep that data and the scientific evidence under review.”