Pub­li­cans rail at ‘dev­as­tat­ing’ cur­few rules

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Han­nah Ut­t­ley

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.

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