Opinion

10pm curfew – hate to say it, but we told you so…

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nicholas Robinson is the managing editor of The Morning Advertiser
Nicholas Robinson is the managing editor of The Morning Advertiser

Related tags: Nicholas Robinson, Coronavirus, Curfew, Pubs, Legislation

There are calls from local government leaders across the country to end the 10pm hospitality curfew because it is causing more problems than it is supposed to solve.

It’s a case of I told you so…

Of course if you kick people out of pubs and bars at the same time then there will be crowds in the street.

Hospitality is set up to ensure people interact in a safe way. We’ve been doing this for decades.

To implement a 10pm curfew and think people will all just go home when they want to have fun is ridiculous. The Government should have allowed the sector to continue serving customers in a socially distanced way and leave venues for home when they were ready.

Government doesn’t understand

The curfew shows the Government doesn’t understand how the society it has been elected to lead works and thinks.

I don’t know when the Prime Minister was last out at a pub or bar in a city centre, but if it was in recent years then he’d know it takes time for people find their way home. It’s not as simple as kicking punters out and thinking they will quickly leave the area. Taxis need hailing, rides home arranged, etc.

We’re not condoning people gathering in large crowds, that is wrong. But that wouldn’t happen if they weren’t all herded out into the street at the same time after having fun in a safe environment.

What we don’t want to see, however, is more restrictions placed on pubs – limits to alcohol sales or earlier closures. This would be wrong and is not tackling the problem either. We can see our sector is not the issue, the stats say it all.

Hospitality has been disproportionately affected by coronavirus restrictions. During lockdown the sector agreed, to a certain extent, with closing. While closed, we used the Government guidance prior to reopening, with the majority of operators following it to the letter.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds

Now we’ve spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on ensuring our venues are safe, yet we still see disproportionate restrictions.

You only have to look at the latest Public Health England coronavirus transmission stats for week 39 to see hospitality isn’t at fault.

Just 3% of transmissions come from the sector, that’s down by around 2% on the previous data. This is compared with 44% in schools and universities, 25% in care homes and 16% in the workplace.

The Government needs to tackle the big issues and stop using hospitality as a scapegoat.

And a little side note here, the bars in Parliament were exempt from the 10pm curfew because they are classed as work canteens. This was later rectified with another Government U-turn and now the bars are operating under the same 10pm curfew the rest of us are.

Related topics: Licensing law

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