Legal challenge to 10pm hospitality curfew on hold
Jeremy Joseph, owner of the G-A-Y nightclub group, says his legal challenge to the 10pm curfew is on hold after a court refused permission for the case to go ahead.
In a statement Joseph said the decision was based ‘on the papers submitted by G-A-Y and the government' but he has decided ‘not to give up'.
He has instructed lawyers to renew the application for the court's permission to go ahead, but will this time argue the case at an oral hearing.
Joseph said: "We still haven't seen evidence that comes close to justifying the curfew. If the government had something convincing we would have hoped to have seen it by now."
He added that losing the second bid would mean ‘game over', but if it was won the case would go to a full court hearing.
The controversial curfew has been in place since 24 September as part of a government bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, but there are concerns it is causing overcrowding on streets and public transport at closing time.
Joseph claims the government has not provided scientific evidence to support it and is seeking a judicial review, which challenges the lawfulness of government action.
He said: "Since we made our last announcement, the tier system has been introduced with more protective measures and venues across the country, including G-A-Y Manchester, have been forced to close.
"Knowing that even when these venues can reopen they will continue to make losses because of the curfew is heartbreaking, especially when we can see no good reason for it to protect customers and the public.
"All it is doing is putting hospitality out of business, and encouraging people to continue their evening after 10pm at private residences without all of the Covid-secure measures venues like ours have in place."
The legal action is being backed by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), which represents 1,200 bars, clubs, casinos and music venues.
Hospitality leaders in Greater Manchester have also commenced legal proceedings against the imposition of Tier 3 (very high) restrictions after receiving an ‘insufficient' response from the government.