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Calls to review 10pm pub curfew

Crowds gather on tubes and in supermarkets anyway, say frustrated landlords

02 October, 2020 — By Helen Chapman

Nichola Moses, general manger at the Archway Tavern, with bartender Ian Broad

LANDLORDS say pubs are losing out on up to half of their usual income because of the new 10pm coronavirus curfew.

The first week of the new government restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19 saw a drastic drop in sales, leading to calls for a review of the regulations.

Damien Devine, landlord of the Old Red Lion pub in St John Street, Angel, said: “They need to review what the logic is behind the curfew. There is a lot of criticism of it and a lot of well-informed people saying it is not working.

“We are getting good custom on Friday and Saturday nights but between 10pm and 1am is usually 50 per cent of our take. Costs are increasing to stay open but the ability to earn revenue is going down.”

The restrictions are expected to be in place for six months, but critics say it pushes out large groups of people onto crowded streets and heading for packed tubes at the same time.

Old Red Lion landlord Damien Devine

Catherine Fitzgerald, landlady at the Twelve Pins in Finsbury Park, said: “The government really buried the hospitality industry. I and others in the industry invested heavily to prepare our pubs to be compliant with the government guidelines when reopening on July 4. Because of the new restrictions introduced last week our take was down by 30 per cent compared with previous weeks. There will be job losses across the industry and people’s livelihoods will be affected.”

She added: “We would like to see a little bit of common sense from the government. We can control what happens in the pub but we can’t control what happens when people leave.

“When people are here they are in groups of six or less. When they leave they head to Tesco to buy take out and end up in bigger groups.”

Nichola Moses, general manager at the Archway Tavern, said: “We take the health of our customers very seriously and we abide by the 10pm curfew, but the curfew has had a detrimental impact on our sales. We have adapted and we are lucky we have respectful customers but it is hard, at 9.30pm, to be calling last orders. It’s three hours of takings that we are losing.”

The government is under growing pressure to review the curfew after a cross-party group of 25 MPs called on the government to publish scientific evidence for the measure this week.

Data from Public Health England showed three per cent of new Covid cases in the week up to September 20 were caused by the hospitality industry.

A spokesman for No 10 said: “We know this won’t be easy, but we must take further action to control the resurgence in cases of the virus.”

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