The Introduction of Curfews for Hospitality Businesses
On 22 September a series of new restrictions were announced, including a curfew for hospitality businesses. The details of this vary slightly across the UK, and have come into force on different days:
• In England, pubs must be closed completely between the hours of 22.00 and 5.00
• In Wales, pubs must stop serving alcohol by 22.00 and must be closed completely between 22.20 and 6.00
• In Scotland, pubs must be closed by 22.00
• In Northern Ireland, no food or alcohol can be served after 22.30 and pubs must close completely by 23.00
This curfew places further pressure on the sector by limiting the hours pubs can trade, when they are already under strain because of limits on the number of customers they can serve while maintaining social distancing requirements. Recent data from Public Health England seemed to show that hospitality was not a major source of transmission, and we have been pushing the Government to publish the evidence base behind their decision to implement a curfew.
A related issue is the potential for large crowds to form outside venues at curfew time. This is something publicans warned of, but under the new regulations there is nothing they can do to prevent it.
We have written to Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, asking for his Department to urgently publish the evidence behind this decision and to provide pubs with targeted financial support. The letter is appended to this memo and can also be found with our Press Release Here
Letters have been sent to devolved Governments and related press releases on the restrictions in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have been issued.