Scrap the 10pm coronavirus curfew, says Bristol mayor
BRISTOL Mayor Marvin Rees is demanding the Government scraps the 10pm curfew, saying that it is helping to spread coronavirus and causing brawls on the streets.
He says the early closure is creating more problems than it is solving and is having an impact on pubs, nightclubs and restaurants which have already been “devastated” by the pandemic.
Speaking during a Facebook Live broadcast last night, Mr Rees (above) said the situation was similar to that years ago before the licensing laws were relaxed, when last orders were 11pm and everyone was chucked out of venues at the same time.
He said: “We have raised concerns and written to government today about the impact of the 10pm curfew.
“We are saying to government we appreciate what they’re trying to do to stem the spread of Covid but there are a number of concerns.
“Chief among them, as raised by our director of public health, is our night-time venues have been made covid-secure.
“The virus is mostly being spread by people in social settings where they’re relaxed and come into close contact.
“When venues are closed in a hard 10pm stop, they move from a covid-secure environment to a covid-insecure environment where there are crowds of people on the streets, so it could be you’re adding risk to that night-time economy.
“Along with that, police raised concerns that we are seeing what we used to see with an 11pm kick-out time years ago when you have huge numbers of people coming onto the streets at the same time.
“You end up with social tensions and the confrontations that result from that and the pressures on the transport networks.
“It’s an insecure environment, everyone is in it at the same time, it is not necessarily ideal.”
The mayor said the curfew was also heaping more financial suffering onto bars and restaurants.
“It is adding further pressure to those businesses in the night-time economy, so we may be getting the economic hit without necessarily getting the covid-secure benefit from it,” he said.
“We have given that feedback to government on how this has landed – it may not be delivering what you intended, and what we want is for you to review that with us and give us more autonomy locally to deal with the local challenges as we understand them and to work with businesses in our local area to manage ourselves, rather than just a one-size-fits-all approach from Westminster.
“These are businesses and jobs vital to Bristol’s culture and offer.”
Bristol Association of Restaurants, Bars and Independent Establishments (BARBIE) is leading a nationwide campaign urging the Government to make a U-turn on its decision to force all traders in the hospitality industry to close at 10pm.
The “counter-intuitive” new rule came into effect on September 24 and has seen venues across the UK report a drop in revenue of more than 60 per cent.
BARBIE says it could be the final nail in the coffin for the night-time economy.
By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporting Service