Coronavirus: Legal challenge launched against ‘catastrophic’ restrictions on pubs, bars and restaurants | Business News


Members of Britain’s hospitality sector have launched a legal challenge to the “catastrophic” restrictions facing the industry, which are set to be tightened further in England’s coronavirus hotspots.

The proceedings, led by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), comes as the prime minister prepares to announce a new three-tier lockdown system.

The NTIA is seeking a judicial review, arguing there is no evidence to support the suggestion that hospitality venues have contributed to the spread of COVID-19.

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Local lockdowns could be lifted by Christmas

Pubs, restaurants, night clubs and live music venues have been devastated by the impact of coronavirus restrictions, which will be tightened up again in certain regions depending on how badly affected the region is by the pandemic.

At the same time, the government’s furlough subsidy for temporarily laid-off workers is coming to an end and will be replaced by new jobs support measures.

NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “The industry has been left with no other option but to legally challenge the so called ‘common sense’ approach narrative from government, on the implementation of further restrictions across the North of England.

“These new measures will have a catastrophic impact on late night businesses, and are exacerbated further by an insufficient financial support package presented by the chancellor in an attempt to sustain businesses through this period.

“This next round of restrictions are hugely disproportionate and unjust, with no scientific rationale or correlation to PHE (Public Health England) transmission rates, when compared to other key environments.

“Systematic closure of businesses across the UK must be challenged when there is no clear evidence or reason.”

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‘There’s been a murder’ of Glasgow’s hospitality sector

Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, said local leaders had not been presented with “any tangible scientific evidence to merit a full closure” of hospitality in the area.

But culture secretary Oliver Dowden said ministers have “robust evidence for doing this”.

He told Sky News: “The evidence shows that there is a higher risk of transmissions in hospitality settings. There is academic evidence from the United States.”