Some 800 restaurants and 1,553 pubs located in Northumberland, North and South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham are being forced to close at 10pm, according real estate adviser Altus Group.
The curfew, which was announced yesterday (17 September), was introduced in an attempt to curb the spread of Coronavirus in the region. All hospitality businesses in the region will also be restricted to offering table service only under the new measures
Durham county council is the most affected area in terms of number of businesses that will have to close at 10pm, with 563 pubs, pub restaurants and restaurants, according to Altus, followed by Newcastle-upon-Tyne city with 473, and Northumberland council with 448.
Responding to yesterday’s announcement, The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) described the move as a “significant blow” to businesses in the region.
“Our sector has been one of the hardest and longest hit by the pandemic. Pubs and brewers have worked tirelessly to get pubs safely open and stocked since July, so this latest announcement is another significant blow,” says Emma McClarkin, BBPA chief executive.
“Our data suggests that a third of pubs are still struggling to even break even, which indicates that we are at a very delicate moment in our sector’s recovery. Consumer confidence is already very fragile and extra restrictions will inevitably have a further cooling effect on that, not only in the regions where they are in effect but also nationally.
The BBPA is calling on the government to immediately put in place a sector specific furlough scheme beyond October, extend the VAT cut and business rates holiday and make a substantial cut to the high rate of beer duty in the Autumn Budget.
“These measures will help brewers and pubs work towards a safe and sustainable recovery,” says McClarkin.
The Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG), meanwhile, described the potential introduction of a national curfew in Scotland as “catastrophic” for the sector.
“A national curfew in Scotland would be catastrophic for the hospitality industry,” says spokesperson Stephen Montgomery.
“The current ‘rule of six’ restriction has meant that we are on life support,” he says.
“Further restrictions will flick the switch for many businesses, that once closed will not be able to open their doors again. This will principally hit late night venue owners who have invested significantly to adapt their premises to bar service.”
The SHG says that closures of restaurant and late night venues will increasing “massively” the risk of more house parties and irresponsible gatherings, where it says track and trace is almost impossible.
“The vast majority of bars and restaurants are operating safely. We have been adhering religiously to every regulation that has been introduced by the Scottish Government and we will continue to do so.”