Amid the latest Coronavirus restrictions, the hospitality industry is gearing up to take legal action should pubs, clubs and other such venues be forced to close.
A Crushing Curfew
Michael Kill, the chair of the Night-Time Industries Association claims that despite there being no real evidence of hospitality venues being a prevalent transmitter of Covid-19, a 10pm curfew has already had a catastrophic impact on the industry. Furthermore, the new stricter restrictions that come in the very high tier could prove to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Kill believes these regulations are “…exacerbated further by an insufficient financial support package presented by the chancellor in an attempt to sustain businesses through this period”.
Under the new three-tier system ranking regions as ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’ alert levels, the Merseyside region is deemed to be one of the worst off. Unfortunately, it is likely that many establishments in the hospitality and leisure industries here will be forced to close. One would expect that other cities will follow suit should infection rates increase, indeed Wales has now also announced a circuit-breaker.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has recently promised to pay two thirds of employee wages should such establishments close. However, Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, believes that this won’t be enough to save all jobs in the industry. Dame Fairbairn says it is “particularly hard for hospitality who worked so hard to get their premises Covid-safe, but also the supply chains that depend on them”. Indeed, when bars and clubs etc. have spent so much of their time and money to ensure a safe environment to re-open, having to close again so soon after will come as a crushing blow.
A Lack of Science?
Many people within the hospitality industry feel that they are being treated unfairly and that the imposition of these restrictions must in future be the result of solid statistical evidence. Sacha Lord, Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser, states: “this cannot keep happening and we need to understand why the hospitality industry is being isolated like this – where is the scientific evidence to suggest closing venues suppresses transmission?”
Furthermore, the flaws of the 10pm Curfew has been pointed out more than once. Many pointing out the fact that a curfew leads to everyone leaving these establishments at the same time. Thus, causing congestion both on the street and on public transport, which could potentially be just as, if not more, dangerous.
An Inside View…
Daniel Harrison, an independent event manager in Leeds had this to say about the current situation:
“I lay in bed this morning thinking about every single person and/or business that would be affected simply by my business not trading…Landlords with empty premises. Photographers & videographers with nothing to shoot. Designers with a significantly reduced workload. Fancy dress shops with no customers. Taxi drivers with no riders after 10pm. Takeaways with no night-time trade. DJs with no one to share their passion with. Performers with no one to entertain. Solicitors with less businesses to represent. Accountants with a reduced workload and therefore reduced fees…(the list continued)
This cannot be accepted as the “new normal”. This curfew has absolutely ZERO scientific basis to it. It was not discussed with any governing body whatsoever prior to being forced upon us. It makes absolutely no sense at all. This government are introducing laws & restrictions without passing any of them through parliament…
…Their primary responsibilities are to act in the national interest and in the interests of their constituents. Subordinate to both of these is acting in the interest of their party.”
Clearly, those in the industry, including Mr. Harrison, are massively disappointed with the way in which this government has dealt with the crisis. Daniel is urging others to write to their MPs and to sign petitions – a clear indicator of the industries burning desire for change and willingness to take action against the government.