The United Kingdom, like many other countries around the world are right now, is in the grips of a dangerous second wave of COVID-19, having so far recorded over 42,000 deaths due to the pandemic. On Sep 24 the government introduced a strict 10pm curfew on licensed venues, similar to curfews imposed in Melbourne this year, in an attempt to stem the flow of public movement.

The move comes, less than three months after sites had welcomed customers back again following previous lockdown measures.

However, in recent days British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under attack for introducing the curfew with videos online showing people partying on the streets and not observing strict social distancing rules.

Amid those expressing concerns over the UK government’s handling of public health measures and the strict 10 pm curfew is Jeremy Joseph, who operates G-A-Y at long running Heaven Night Club in Soho, London. With Joseph having gone so far as to launch a lawsuit against the government, aimed squarely at Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

“The 10pm curfew which has now been in place for the last two weeks has been detrimental to the hospitality sector, including G-A-Y and makes absolutely no sense,” Joseph said. “It does the opposite of protecting people by pushing them onto the street at the same time.”

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 Law firm Simpson Millar, acting for G-A-Y, questioned the logic behind the “arbitrary decision” to impose a 10pm curfew, a restriction that without proper financial support for businesses has left many wondering if and how they will survive past winter. They went on to claim that the UK had failed to provide any evidence to support the restriction, which “seems to lack any obvious rational or scientific basis.”

Hospitality industry aside there are many real and legitimate concerns surrounding the effectiveness of the curfew, particularly in light of recent videos emerging online. The fact that large numbers of people are now gathering in the streets or homes after 10pm or crowding onto public transport at the same time meaning the curfew may in fact be counterproductive.

Joseph, who owns a further three 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.”

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 A spokesperson for The Department of Health and Social Care said in response that “the latest data suggests a considerable rise in the infection rate following people socialising in hospitality venues serving alcohol in recent weeks, so we have taken immediate action to cut the transmission rate and save lives and will keep all measures under constant review.

“The 10pm closure allows people to continue to socialise while reducing the risk of failing to socially distance.”

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