England’s night time economy and hospitality industry leaders are preparing a legal challenge to the UK government’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Sacha Lord, night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, is heading a group to take the government to a Judicial Review, with the support of Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), and the British Beer and Pub Association. The move follows the announcement of further restrictions being implemented within the north of England on Monday.
“In Greater Manchester, we will not accept shutting our pubs/bars without any scientific evidence,” said Lord, according to Big Hospitality. “That’s why, with the support of Andy Burnham, I’m heading a group to take the Government to a Judicial Review. We have been given no tangible scientific evidence to merit a full closure of hospitality and entertainment sectors and have been left with no option than to escalate the matter with legal action.”
Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain earlier today, Lord said that Public Health England (PHE) figures show that hospitality accounted for only three per cent of coronavirus cases, and said it was far safer to go to a pub than a house party, adding that further lockdown measures would inevitably lead to such unsafe parties. “Whoever is making these knee-jerk decisions are not dealing with the operators,” he said.
He also criticised the government’s decision to pay 67 per cent of an employee’s wages as a result of a local lockdown, saying it was unfair.
The NTIA added in a press release that more restrictions will be catastrophic to the night time economy and hospitality sector. “The industry has been left with no other option but to legally challenge the so called ‘common sense’ approach narrative from government, on the implementation of further restrictions across the north of England,” said Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA.
He added: “These new measures will have a catastrophic impact on late night businesses, and are exacerbated further by an insufficient financial support package presented by the chancellor in an attempt to sustain businesses through this period.”
“This next round of restrictions are hugely disproportionate and unjust, with no scientific rationale or correlation to PHE transmission rates, when compared to other key environments. Systematic closure of businesses across the UK must be challenged when there is no clear evidence or reason.”