Clubbing bosses have hit out at the Government’s 10pm curfew and said it will encourage illegal raves.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tonight confirm plans for pubs, bars, restaurants and hospitality venues – including clubs – to close at 10pm each night from Thursday. The industry will also be restricted to table service.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has argued that there was evidence that the 10pm rule has had a “beneficial effect” in areas where it has been tested such as Bolton.
But the nightclub industry, already largely unable to reopen due to worries large crowds would spread coronavirus, has suffered a hammerblow from the curfew.
Ministry of Sound chairman Lohan Presencer said: “If the government wants a night time economy post COVID they need to provide us with urgent financial support or iconic cultural destinations like Ministry of Sound will close forever.
“We have had zero income since March. Without support raving will return to dangerous, unlicensed venues with huge public order implications and hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost.”
The south London club’s opening hours are 11pm to 8am, meaning the curfew effectively leaves it unable to reopen even with social distancing measures.
Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said: “This announcement of a 10pm curfew for hospitality is yet another devastating blow to the already beleaguered night-time economy, struggling to survive and in desperate need of sector-specific financial support from the Government.
“This curfew will lead to the demise of many of our most beloved cultural and entertainment venues.”
He added: “Businesses in the night-time economy are both shocked and disappointed by the Government’s continued targeting of restrictions on late-night venues and bars, partially open at a fraction of their capacity, when they have admitted that the majority of transmission takes place in households.
“As a result of this measure, we foresee a surge of unregulated events and house parties which are the real hot beds of infection, attended by frustrated young people denied access to safe and legitimate night-time hospitality venues.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s night czar Amy Lame tweeted: “Hey @10DowningStreet – there’s nothing magic about 10pm. The virus doesn’t care what time it is. What we need is a fully functioning testing system and a fully functioning contact tracing system.”