Sacha Lord: closing pubs is 'an attack on our class culture'
Sacha Lord has issued a plea to health secretary Matt Hancock to scrap the 10pm curfew and allow pubs to reopen when England's lockdown ends in December.
The night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester said shutting wet-led pubs under higher-tier restrictions was "an attack on our class culture" that disproportionally affected deprived areas.
He added that the 10pm curfew did "more harm than good" in spreading the virus.
In a video posted on Twitter, Lord said: "You have a decision to make in two weeks that will either make or break what remains of the hospitality industry and the whole supply chain that goes around it."
Manchester was placed into Tier 3 (very high) restrictions before lockdown, meaning pubs and bars not serving ‘substantial food' had to close.
Lord said: "The majority of these pubs are in our most deprived areas. Tier 3 doesn't affect some people, they can go for dinner and have a few drinks. Why is it right that they can experience social activity and enjoy themselves, while those living in the most deprived areas can't? It's not fair. This is an attack on our class culture."
The government is expected to announce a return to the tier system when lockdown lifts on 3 December, but it is not clear what restrictions will be in place.
Lord, who is also spearheading a legal challenge to the imposition of Tier 3 rules on Greater Manchester, said he had put together a team of experts who could advise Hancock on safely managing closing times.
A report released this week detailed how Greater Manchester's night-time economy has been hit hard by the pandemic, with Lord predicting it could take five years to recover.
In the first few months of lockdown 90% of the region's late-night businesses closed, with only 7% staying open to offer reduced services.
Two-thirds of night-time businesses in the area expect to make redundancies over the next year, including 80% of restaurants, and 9% expect to permanently close.
Addressing Hancock, Lord added: "This is not about politics, this is about working together and creating safe environments and saving what is left of our sector."