Boris Johnson has come under increasing pressure to act after Scotland announced new restrictions on the hospitality sector. Ministers plan to define a new three-tier system of restrictions, with measures supposed to force pubs and restaurants to close in the north of England.But lawyers for the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), the British Beer and Pub Association and two of the nation’s largest brewers and pub operators, JW Lees and Joseph Holt, along with 10 other organizations, must challenge the latest round of coronavirus restrictions affecting the hospitality and entertainment industry.
Industry executives say the restrictions, which have already had a significant impact on pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality areas across the country, are not based on any “hard scientific evidence” that the closure of places suppresses the transmission of the coronavirus.
Sacha Lord, the Greater Manchester nightlife advisor, who leads the challenge, is hoping to reverse the restrictions.
Lord, who asked lawyers to draft a submission to the government, challenged Westminster to produce the science behind the “draconian and dramatic” rules.
“We are asking for the scientific evidence that supports the closure. The vast majority of businesses have flawless measures in place to protect their customers, all at additional cost to their business, but it feels like the government is taking another cheap chance in the hospitality industry, ”he said. he declared.
He added: “Once again the government wants to shut down pubs and bars, but this cannot go on and we have to understand why the hospitality industry is isolated like this – where is the scientific evidence suggesting that the closure of places removes transmission?
In Scotland, the Prime Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced a package of measures “short and precise” which would enter into force Friday from 6 pm.
Under the new rules, indoor venues will only be allowed to operate between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily, selling only food and non-alcoholic drinks, while outdoor bars will be allowed to serve food. alcohol until 10 p.m.
In the five Scottish regions with the highest number of cases, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, licensed premises will have to close for a period of 16 days, although they may offer take-out services.
Michael Kill, chief executive of NTIA, which represents more than 1,400 companies, said the hospitality industry has had no choice but to challenge the government.
“Another closure will undoubtedly cause extreme hardship. The gravity of the situation and its impact on the industry have been prolonged and uncompromising, ”he said.
He added, “We need to know the methodology of government, the science behind it, because otherwise it feels like these measures against the hotel industry are disproportionate and unfair.”
The number of people hospitalized with coronavirus rose in all parts of England on Saturday – rising to 1,167 in the north-west, from 725 the week before.
The government is already facing a challenge to its 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants in England. GAY Group Ltd nightclub business owner Jeremy Joseph has filed for judicial review to overturn the curfew, which was implemented on September 24.
A House of Commons vote on the controversial curfew is slated for Tuesday, paving the way for a rebellion on the Tory benches. But Johnson will likely be spared defeat after Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer ruled out telling his MPs to oppose the measure.
Labor Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has said shutting down the hospitality industry would disproportionately affect those earning minimum wage.
Last week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that two-thirds of the wages of workers in companies forced to close by local and national lockdowns will be covered by the government as part of an expanded employment support program .
But Burnham argued that “the damage to the economy will be profound and lasting” if the government fails to extend the full leave scheme, which covers 80% of wages.
“The government treats workers in the hospitality industry like second-class citizens. Many of them already receive the minimum wage and nothing justifies a holiday plan that pays two-thirds of their wages while workers in other industries have received four-fifths, ”he added.