Coronavirus: UK hospitality industry to take legal action against lockdown rules

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2 min read
A worker cleans at Cafe Pacifico during preparations for its reopening, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Covent Garden, in London, Britain, June 29, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
A worker cleans at Cafe Pacifico during preparations for its reopening in Covent Garden, London. Photo: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

The UK’s hospitality industry is threatening legal action against new lockdown rules, which would see pubs, clubs and other venues close.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) will base the judicial review on arguments there is “no evidence” that hospitality contributed to the spread of COVID-19.

The NTIA said that the industry had been left with “no other option.”

NTIA boss Michael Kill said: “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.”

Kill said that the next round of restrictions are “disproportionate and unjust” and have no scientific rationale or “correlation to Public Health England transmission rates” in comparison to other key environments.

The move is backed by the British Beer and Pub Association, which represents 20,000 pubs across the UK. It’s also backed leaders in the north.

Sacha Lord, Manchester’s night time economy adviser, said: “Once again the government wants to shut down pubs and bars, but this cannot keep happening and we need to understand why the hospitality industry is being isolated like this – where is the scientific evidence to suggest closing venues suppresses transmission?”

READ MORE: Bank of England asks banks how ready they are for negative interest rates

Watch: Three-tier 'traffic light' lockdown system to be unveiled

The news comes as the government gears up to unveil new measures across England designed to stem the spread of the virus.

Boris Johnson is set to announce a three-tier system of lockdown for England this afternoon.

The prime minister will make a speech about the changes to the House of Commons before addressing the nation this evening.

Under the new plans, areas of England are expected to be categorised as medium, high or very high risk, which will inform the level of intervention required.

The night-time economy accounts for £66bn ($86bn) per year in revenues, and is the fifth-largest industry, according to NTIA data. It also accounts for at least 8% of the UK’s employment figures.

Watch: Why are job losses rises despite the economy reopening?