Hospitality leaders have condemned the Government’s plan to impose a 10pm curfew on pubs, restaurants and bars in England – describing the move as a “crushing blow” for the sector.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce the new restrictions – which will also ban people from ordering at the bar – when he addresses the nation on Tuesday evening.
The measures come amid fears the UK could see 50,000 coronavirus cases a day by the middle of October without Government action.
What difference does closing the pubs at 10pm make? Asking for a friend …— Andrew Neil (@afneil) September 21, 2020
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, led criticism of the new restrictions.
She said: “These restrictions will come as another crushing blow for many hospitality businesses struggling to recover so it’s crucial these new rules are applied with flexibility.
“A hard close time is bad for business and bad for controlling the virus – we need to allow time for people to disperse over a longer period.
“Table service has been widely adopted in some parts of the sector since reopening but it is not necessary across all businesses, such as coffee shops.
“It is hard to understand how these measures are the solution to fighting the disease when Government data shows that just 5% of infections out of the home are related to hospitality.
“Where such restrictions have been put in place locally they have not cut infection rates, merely damaged business and cost jobs.”
From £10 off to 10pm curfew. What a tragedy.— britney (@britbrap) September 21, 2020
She said the Government needs to “recognise this will damage confidence even further and it is now inevitable that the sector will struggle long into 2021” and called for a support package.
She said: “We need to see an early signal that the VAT cut will be extended through to the end of 2021; that the business rates holiday will continue next year; and an enhanced employment support package specifically for hospitality.
“We agree with the Government that we are all in this together. Hospitality has played its part by investing in Covid-secure venues and reassuring their customers.
“Now, it’s time for Government to demonstrate its commitment to the sector and its recovery – hundreds of thousands of livelihoods depend upon it.”
Goodness, I feel for pubs and restaurants right now.— Emily Hewertson (@emilyhewertson) September 21, 2020
If the hospitality industry hasn’t already suffered enough, the government has made the outrageous decision to introduce a 10pm #curfew, supported by virtually no scientific evidence.
Enough is enough.
The Institute of Economic Affairs think tank also criticised the plans.
Christopher Snowdon, the IEA’s head of lifestyle economics, said: “A 10pm closing time for all pubs, bars and other hospitality seems to have emerged from a random policy generator.
“While mandatory table service has been part of the successful Swedish approach and may have merit, the new closing time will be devastating to a hospitality sector that was already suffering after the first lockdown.
“The Government should publish the evidence upon which this decision was based.”
In two weeks 50,000 new daily infections, Boris Johnson “We’re gonna shut the pubs at 10pm” ?? pic.twitter.com/ruN9aAZY8I— ARTIST TAXI DRIVER (@chunkymark) September 22, 2020
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