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Campaigners call for end to 10pm curfew

Hospitality professionals in England and Wales are urging the UK government to end the 10pm curfew as on-trade revenue plummets, putting hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.

Cancel the Curfew is calling for an end to 10pm mandatory closures in England and Wales

The Cancel the Curfew campaign is being led by on-trade operators in England and Wales, who have written to UK prime minister Boris Johnson warning that the 10pm curfew implemented in an attempt to stem the spread of Covid-19 will spell “the end of the hospitality industry as we know it”.

The campaign is pressuring the government to backtrack on the ruling, which Cancel the Curfew claims will cost the hospitality industry £5.5 million (US$7m) per day in central London alone.

Figures cited by the campaign say pubs, bars and restaurants are reporting a 63% drop in revenue since the curfew was enforced last Thursday (24 September).

The open letter read: “Our industry is dying and the 10pm curfew may be the final nail in the coffin.

“Up and down the country, our pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants, music venues, theatres, event spaces and all other businesses that fall under the hospitality industry’s umbrella are teetering on the edge. Some are suffering death by a thousand cuts, while others have been ignored and left to starve.

“If nothing changes then hundreds of thousands of people will lose their jobs, thousands of businesses will close their doors forever, billions of pounds of tax income will be lost, and the hospitality industry will never be the same again.”

The letter says the hospitality industry has been “vilified as breeding grounds for the virus”, despite figures from Public Health England (PHE) showing the sector accounted for just 3.2% of cases.

According to the latest figures from PHE, there were 532 cases of Covid-19 between 14 and 20 September. Just 17 incidents of coronavirus were from food outlets and restaurant settings.

Tom Lord, founder of Hospitality Gin, said: “The industry that we love is in grave danger of being suffocated by this curfew. Some venues were starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel before it was announced as customers returned and we all settled into the ‘new normal’. Now we’ve been plunged back into uncertainty.”

“We want the British public to know the impact that the curfew is going to have, not just on our businesses, but on our friends and colleagues. We have borne the brunt of the measures announced over the past fortnight. We are vilified as breeding grounds for the virus, yet Public Health England’s own figures show this is not true. In fact, the latest figures show that we have one of the lowest infection rates outside of the home.

“Hundreds of thousands of people will lose their jobs as a direct result of this disastrous policy, thousands of businesses will close their doors forever, and the hospitality industry will never be the same again. Stop blaming hospitality, let us serve.”

Award-winning bar Milk & Honey in London’s Soho was forced to permanently close after being dealt a final blow by the curfew measures.

Furthermore, the UK government was pressured into a swift u-turn on its decision to continue selling alcohol in parliamentary bars after 10pm following widespread outrage across the nation.

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