Publicans rail at ‘devastating’ curfew rules
PUB bosses have warned a curfew on hospitality venues will “devastate” the sector and lead to thousands of job losses without further support.
Hospitality outlets will be subject to a 10pm curfew from Thursday, although cinemas and theatres, where performances may overrun the 10pm deadline, will be exempt.
Customers will be required to vacate premises by 10pm as part of the new rules, which restaurant operators said would cause them to lose crucial sittings at peak times.
A table-service-only rule will also be enforced in a bid to prevent people gathering in queues, particularly at the bar in pubs.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pubs Association, said: “Make no mistake, a 10pm curfew will devastate our sector during an already challenging environment.”
Jonathan Neame, chief executive of brewer and pub chain Shepherd Neame, said the Government’s scientific data was “fundamentally flawed”. Tim Martin, JD Wetherspoon chairman, called the rules “utterly stupid”. It came as Wetherspoon revealed up to 450 jobs were at risk at its pubs in six airports.
Simon Emeny, chief executive of Fuller’s, accused ministers of “singling out” the pub sector, warning that the latest restrictions would lead to more job losses. He added that the introduction of a curfew will have an “enormous” impact on consumer confidence.
Industry chiefs also urged the Government to launch a support package.