Cancel the Curfew
The following letter has been sent to our local Members of Parliament, and other relevant individuals and organisations.
After consultation with many of our Evening and Night-Time Economy (ENTE) businesses in Norwich, we write this letter requesting an urgent review to the current national Covid19 restrictions, requiring our hospitality industry to close at 10pm. We suggest there are more practical solutions, which ensure public health remains a priority, such as staggered closures and enforcement, as a logical way forward. As a representative of businesses across Norwich, we therefore back their calls to ‘cancel the curfew’ in its present format. We believe that the current curfew is not the solution to securing a safer environment for the people of Norwich and the approach is extremely damaging to a sector already struggling with the economic challenges of Covid19.
Norwich has a well-established evening and night-time economy that has gone above and beyond in recent months to ensure that their customers are welcomed into Covid-secure premises. Working in partnership across the city, many of our businesses have exceeded the government obligations and brought confidence to those using their venues, and the staff working within them. Norwich BID has provided support, guidance and assets to support social distancing measures and Covid19 compliance. The Covid-19 current curfew of 10pm closures does not make logical sense when this sector has put such extensive measures in place. Our businesses have incurred many extra expenses to open their doors daily to bring amazing customer service, a warm welcome and a ray of sunshine in a dark and challenging time for everyone.
We would support a curfew that demonstrably reduced transmission and reduced threats to the customers, workers and visitors of Norwich city centre. We recognise the importance of the health and safety of those leaving their homes to visit our city centre; to that end we need to be absolutely confident in the terms of the current curfew, and – it its present iteration – we believe it is doing more harm than good.
This curfew has placed further weight on an already struggling industry, who have endured five policy changes within the last three months. We would ask for the Government to provide the scientific evidence that has led to this policy and the evidence it will reduce the spread of Covid-19. In speaking with our business community and local enforcement we have learned that the measures have instead led to many unforeseen incidents and challenges. The curfew has created large numbers of people leaving venues at the same time, causing groups to congregate drinking in unregulated places, such as the streets, and placing unprecedented challenge on the transport infrastructure to cope in a Covid19 compliant way. It is also counter-intuitive to close venues, but then allow off-licenses and supermarkets to continue to serve alcohol and further facilitate street drinking and large gatherings in private homes.
The curfew unjustly targets the hospitality sector that - according to Public Health England - accounts for just 5%* of Covid19 cases. Without alteration to the curfew, Norwich risks countless job losses and many businesses will become unviable. As the Govt's job retention scheme comes to an end and with many businesses only generating less than 50% of their pre-curfew takings, the picture for the city hospitality businesses becomes bleaker.
The evening and night-time economy needs backing, not further constraints. This is why we are asking the Government to ‘cancel the curfew’ and consider alternative solutions, focusing its efforts on ensuring hospitality venues are able to operate safely, irrespective of opening hours, along with providing sector specific support.
We believe in the businesses of our city; we need to act now in order for them to have a viable future.
Norwich BID - #Cancelthecurfew