Jeremy Joseph, owner of London’s G-A-Y nightclub, has slammed the UK government for a “dither and delay” as he pushes ahead with his legal challenge against a 10pm curfew.
Joseph, who owns four queer venues – G-A-Y Bar and G-A-Y Late in Soho, London, Heaven in Charing Cross and G-A-Y in Manchester – formally challenged the government’s 10pm curfew in legal papers sent to health secretary Matt Hancock on Monday (5 October).
Now, he has hit out at government officials for requesting a full 14-day period to collate evidence to prove that a 10pm curfew is essential in the fight to curb rising coronavirus cases.
Jospeh, who is represented by barristers at King Chambers, said the government has so far failed to provide evidence justifying its 10pm curfew, which he branded “arbitrary and nonsensical”.
“Our response was clear; if this evidence existed Matt Hancock would surely have it to hand,” Joseph told Big Hospitallity.
“Why the dither and delay? The fact is the government has still not provided any justification for a law that is putting customers, businesses and jobs at risk with every passing day.”
G-A-Y owner Jeremy Joseph claims hospitality industry ‘will not survive’ an ongoing curfew.
He also hit out at reports that Boris Johnson is planning to shut down pubs and clubs in Northern England in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus.
“This industry will not survive an ongoing curfew, especially if we are going to be put into more lockdowns, it’s impossible,” he said.
Joseph went on to claim that the 10pm curfew was “thoughtless” and “threatens lives and likely leads to the increase of COVID contamination”.
“It undermines all the good work being done by our NHS and our hospitality industry,” he said, referring to the fears that curfews will push large numbers of revellers out onto the streets at the same time, potentially leading to a rise in coronavirus transmission.
“Since the government will not engage with us, G-A-Y has been left with no choice but to take immediate action to protect hospitality and public safety,” he said.
In a statement released on Monday, Joseph said staggered closing times of pubs and clubs would better protect the public from transmission of the virus.
“This government has failed to show why the 10pm curfew was put in place and has published no scientific evidence to substantiate its implementation,” he said.
Since the government will not engage with us, G-A-Y has been left with no choice but to take immediate action to protect hospitality and public safety.
He went on to claim that the government was scapegoating the hospitality and nightlife industry.
“Enough is enough,” said Joseph. “Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson have to be made accountable.”
A government spokesperson said in a statement to Sky News earlier this week: “Our measures strike a balance between saving lives by protecting our NHS and the most vulnerable and minimising the wider impact on the economy and schools.
“The latest data suggests a considerable rise in the infection rate following people socialising in hospitality venues serving alcohol in recent weeks, so we have taken immediate action to cut the transmission rate and save lives and will keep all measures under constant review.
“The 10pm closure allows people to continue to socialise while reducing the risk of failing to socially distance.”
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