Ipswich hospitality industry call for clarity on 10pm curfew
PUBLISHED: 06:01 13 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:55 13 October 2020
A host of Ipswich pubs and restaurants have again called on the government to review its 10pm curfew on hospitality businesses.
Ipswich Central chairman Terry Baxter has written to local MP Tom Hunt to call for his support in reviewing the curfew locally – which he said has impacted heavily on the licenced trade and leisure sectors.
The letter, written on behalf of some 70 licenced premises in the town centre, comes as Ipswich – ranked “medium” on the three-tier lockdown list – continues to show a lower coronavirus case rate than most other areas of the country at 36.5 per 100,000.
Thanking Mr Hunt for his previous support for the industry, Mr Baxter called for scientific evidence on the curfew’s effectiveness to be made publicly available, while also pressing the government to provide further economic support to the industry.
Mr Baxter said: “Alongside the wider leisure sector, the licenced trade has been utterly devastated by disruption caused by Covid-19 is in now in a state of crisis.
“Pubs, bars and restaurants are vital to our town centre economy. They form a crucial part of our social fabric, drive wider economic benefits and employ large numbers of local people. We must seek to protect them.”
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“These businesses are not only struggling financially but are also struggling to understand the basis of government policy. They are urgently seeking a review of the scientific evidence that purportedly supports a curtailment of their opening hours.”
Mr Hunt said he had planned to vote against the 10pm curfew in parliament – but added he continues to believe the town and other areas should be exempt from the curfew.
Mr Hunt said: “The lowest tier is pretty gigantic, and in that category we have areas such as Ipswich which are comparatively very low, while also having areas like London which could soon move up a level.
“Consequently that means we can’t enjoy a later opening time in our hospitality centre.
“Our town has a significant hospitality sector – when I look at the issue of the curfew, any benefits I see are outweighed by the effect it has on the jobs and livelihoods of my constituents.
“Even an 11pm curfew would allow restaurants and pubs who serve food to have two sittings. We aren’t completely disconnected from Covid-19, but I can’t see how a 10pm curfew is a benefit to our town.
“If we hadn’t have introduced a curfew there wouldn’t be as much of a need for significant support – of course however we have to provide support to businesses to help them through this difficult period.”
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