Ipswich MP joins businesses in calling for rethink of 10pm curfew
PUBLISHED: 17:32 05 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:32 05 October 2020
An Ipswich MP has joined businesses across Suffolk in calling on the government to rethink its 10pm coronavirus curfew.
Pub landlords and restaurateurs have joined together as the night-time economy is “at crisis point”, despite Suffolk showing coronavirus infection rates much lower than other parts of the UK.
The call comes following criticism from Our Bury St Edmunds, which has united with pubs, bars and restaurants to speak out against the national curfew.
Mark Cordell, chief executive of the organisation, said: “There seems to be no supporting evidence that closing at 10pm will slow the spread of coronavirus in Bury St Edmunds and we have to remember that cases here are very low anyway with considerable other measures such as sanitizer stations already in place. The government is giving with one hand and taking away with the other.”
While those speaking out against the measures say they would support measures in the case that Suffolk sees a substantial rise, they have continued to stress that all safety measures are undertaken for staff and customers alike.
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Mike Garling, owner of LP Bar in Bury St Edmunds, said the evening trade could prove “the difference between staying open or not”, while Brendan Padfield, owner of Bromeswell gastro pub The Unruly Pig, said the curfew is seeing his business lose up to 40 covers a night.
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said the wellbeing of those working in the hospitality sector locally – many of whom are at a young age – “remains on his conscience every day”.
Mr Hunt said: “Wherever possible we should be looking at regionalised approaches to tackling the virus, and as it stands, Suffolk has very low levels of Covid-19.
“When you consider what our hospitality sector has already been through, especially the young people employed in it, it does beg the question whether we should be included it and if the negatives are worth it.
“I do not support it at a national, blanket level, and I don’t think it is widely supported by local people here either. In somewhere like Ipswich, the harm it can do is far greater than any potential benefits.”
Mr Hunt added he will vote against the national curfew should a retrospective vote be held in parliament or another on its future.
“Our bars, pubs and restaurants are the heartbeat of our town,” he added.
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