Curfew “a disgrace” and “doing more harm than good”.
The leader of one of the busiest UK entertainment districts outside London has slammed the law ordering pubs and restaurants to close by 10pm as a “disgrace”.
The new legislation was brought in last week as part of a package of measures to prevent a second spike in the COVID-19 pandemic amid an upsurge in the number of cases nationwide.
But Mike Olley, general manager of Westside Business Improvement District – which includes Birmingham’s ‘golden mile’ on Broad Street – has asked ministers to reverse the change that he says will do “more harm than good”.
Olley branded the inner cabinet behind the 10pm curfew a “posh cabal” which has no idea of the importance of the hospitality sector, and predicted the move would result in the closure of many businesses.
Writing in his regular blog, Olley said: “This 22.00 hours closure is simply a monstrous intrusion of hospitality, the nation’s fourth largest economic sector.
“It’s a disgrace, completely thoughtless legislation conceived by out-of-touch fools who frankly do not know their base from their apex.
“I can only conclude that they feel the hospitality sector is made up of Lyons Tea Rooms and corner pubs that sell warm beer. Perhaps as a weekend treat you can get yourself a pickled egg and a bag of scratchings.
“If not reversed, it will result in the closure of many a business, not only nightclubs but long lists of others. The pubs and bars that feed customers to the nightclubs, the taxi drivers who deliver them and return them home, the hot food takeaway joints that feed those customers, and a whole assortment of other valuable economic actors.
“Pubs themselves see the majority of their trade coming after 22:00 hours – and most of that income will now disappear.”
Olley added: “Someone, somewhere in government – chancellor Rishi Sunak, can you hear me? – needs to act to reverse, amend or to certainly limit the new 22:00 hours law, (as this is) one that could end up causing more harm than good.”
In his blog, Olley pointed out that only three per cent of COVID-19 cases have so far been traced back to pubs, clubs and restaurants.
And he dismissed Boris Johnson, chief adviser Dominic Cummings and ministers Matt Hancock and Michael Gove as “the kind of posh cabal that has no idea whatsoever what that hospitality sector means to our society, let alone to our economy.”
The full blog can be read here.