The owner of G-A-Y nightclub in London has mounted a legal challenge against the Government’s policy of all bars, nightclubs and restaurants having to close at 10pm.
Jeremy Joseph, who runs the well-known club, has said he is seeking a judicial review to overturn the controversial curfew.
It has been criticised for pushing out pub-goers and diners onto the streets and transport network at the same time, making social distancing difficult.
G-A-Y’s legal team wrote to the secretary of state, Matt Hancock, at the Department of Health and Social Care with a formal challenge regarding the scientific justifications for the policy.
Mr Joseph said: ‘The 10pm curfew which has now been in place for the last two weeks and has been detrimental to the hospitality sector, including G-A-Y, makes absolutely no sense.
‘It does the opposite of protecting people by pushing them onto the street at the same time.
‘They are going from being safe inside venues with staggered closing times to unsafe on overcrowded streets and overloaded public transport.’
The Prime Minister announced the new 10pm curfew for pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants on September 24, less than three months after sites had welcomed customers again following lockdown measures.
Mr Joseph, who owns four venues, added: ‘This Government has failed to show why the 10pm curfew was put in place and has published no scientific evidence to substantiate its implementation.
‘It seems to direct the blame for this action on the sector, consistently treating the night-time economy as a scapegoat when, in fact, we have years of operational experience of keeping customers safe, and have spent substantial time and effort making sure our venues are Covid secure.’
The legal team has asked the Government to highlight scientific evidence provided by Sage (the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) or other bodies and any impact assessment relating to the curfew by Tuesday.
Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said: ‘The implementation of the 10pm curfew and further restrictions on the sector has had a catastrophic impact on business levels, resulting in thousands of businesses making the difficult decision to close the doors, or make staff redundant.’
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