Nightclub owner takes legal action over 10pm curfew

6th October, 2020 by Nicola Carruthers

The owner of London-based nightclub operator GAY has launched a legal battle against the UK government’s 10pm hospitality curfew.

The iconic GAY nightclub in London’s Soho

Jeremy Joseph, owner of GAY, which operates its namesake venues in London and Manchester, as well as the Heaven nightclub in Charring Cross, has instructed a team of barristers to challenge the government’s restrictions on hospitality, which came into force to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The UK government introduced the 10pm closure order for bars, pubs and restaurants, and made table service compulsory for venues selling alcohol across England from 24 September. The curfew has faced significant criticism from the industry as many question the lack of evidence to support the decision.

With support from trade group the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), Joseph will launch a judicial review against the move.

The nightclub operator’s legal and business affairs advisor has written to Matt Hancock, secretary of state for health and social care, with a formal challenge to the curfew on hospitality.

Law firm Simpson Millar, which represents GAY, called into question the logic behind the “arbitrary decision” to impose a 10pm curfew. Simpson Millar said there has not been any evidence from the government to support the restriction.

‘No sense’

Joseph said the 10pm curfew has had a “detrimental” impact on the hospitality sector and “makes absolutely no sense”.

He said: “It does the opposite of protecting people by pushing them onto the street at the same time. They are going from being safe inside venues with staggered closing times to unsafe on overcrowded streets and overloaded public transport.

“The government has failed to show why the 10pm curfew was put in place and has published no scientific evidence to substantiate its implementation.

“It seems to direct the blame for this action on the sector, consistently treating the night time economy as a scapegoat when, in fact, we have years of operational experience of keeping customers safe, and have spent substantial time and effort making sure our venues are Covid-secure. Enough is enough. Matt Hancock and Bros Johnson have to be made accountable.”

Michael Kill, chief executive of the NTIA, added: “The implementation of the 10pm curfew and further restrictions on the sector has had a catastrophic impact on business levels, resulting in thousands of businesses making the difficult decision to close the doors, or make staff redundant.”

Hospitality professionals across the UK also joined forces to launch the Cancel the Curfew campaign, which calls for the UK government to terminate the 10pm curfew.

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