The evidence justifying the controversial 10 p.m. curfew should be released, a leading Tory MP said last night – as fury increased over the massive damage to the hospitality industry.
Commons Science Committee chairman Greg Clark has demanded “transparency” on the advice, as a Tory board leader said the industry has been “thrown to the lions.”
Pub bosses have warned restrictions will result in thousands of job losses, while business leaders say curfew is hammering sales, increasing infection rates and has been implemented without any basis scientist.
Last night, the impact of the curfew on the hospitality industry was revealed in CGA data, according to a survey of 7,000 establishments.
Nottingham Trent University students line up for an event around 7 p.m.
Site sales last Friday were down 37% from the same day in 2019, and sales remained below 75% of normal levels for each of the four days after curfew rules were enforced.
Writing to Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Chief Science Officer Sir Patrick Vallance, Mr Clark said: ‘It is important that the government be transparent about the scientific advice it relies on to inform policy decisions. so that the reasons for these are visible and understood. ‘
He added: “Science is about openness and rigorous scrutiny and it is important that this approach be followed by the government during the pandemic. “
David Greenhalgh, boss of the Bolton council, said the hospitality industry had been “thrown to the lions” by the government and the complex web of local restrictions “fueled resentment” in the North West.
Sales in theaters last Friday were down 37% from the same day in 2019. Pictured: An empty street in Soho, London, just before the 10pm closing.
Four friends from the University of Portsmouth enjoyed a Tuesday night on the town at pubs and bars on Guildhall Walk
Mr Greenhalgh, whose area is one of the worst affected, told the Guardian: “It has become too complex, too complicated. People feel very disappointed, they are frustrated, there is a lot of anger. It’s almost like they’re making a decision and whatever happens they stand by it and won’t reduce those restrictions.
Pub bosses said it was inevitable that the restrictions would lead to large-scale job losses.
Fullers, who runs 400 pubs and hotels, said he may have to lay off up to 10% of his workers – around 500 people – as his boss criticized the prime minister’s “mistakes”. Director-General Simon Emeny told the BBC: “There are important elements where he made continual mistakes and we have seen the government turn around on five or six key decisions. In a professional environment, his leadership style would not work.
An empty Westgate Street in Cardiff, Wales after pubs, bars and restaurants were placed under a 10pm curfew
During the first Friday night of early pub closures due to government directives, the streets of Northampton were empty
Tables in Soho, west London, were empty as restaurants and bars closed at 10 p.m.
Hundreds of students climb ping-pong tables in Coventry University accommodation block
Clive Watson, managing director of the City Pubs Group, said the government was not doing enough to save the industry from a “bloodbath” of jobs, adding that the wage subsidy program announced last week was not “Not suited to its purpose”. Adnam boss Andy Woods added, “We are looking at the barrels of thousands of job losses. “
On Tuesday, more than 100 general managers of pubs, breweries and restaurants, including the bosses of Burger King, Greene King and Pizza Express, wrote to Boris Johnson demanding a review of the restrictions and asking for financial support for the sector.
Last week Whitbread, which owns Premier Inn and Beefeater, said it expects 6,000 employees to lose their jobs, while Wetherspoon, which operates 875 pubs, said 450 airport workers would be made redundant.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has called for an “urgent review” of the policy, saying the hospitality industries “are teetering on the edge of a cliff”. He added: “We are having probably the most difficult winter we have ever seen in this country. The curfew is causing major damage to our hotel industries.
The coronavirus measures have sparked a backlash from dozens of Tory MPs, raising fears they may hit ‘red wall’ seats in northern England. Infection rates in the Northwest have reached 280 per 100,000, ten times the level that places foreign countries on the quarantine list. Liverpool Underground Mayor Steve Rotheram said it was “quite worrying – the numbers are heading in the wrong direction”.