Speaking today (30 September) on BBC Breakfast, he spoke of the measures the Government had taken to help hospitality businesses, despite calls from the sector for more support.
“We have over the last few months provided a lot of specific support for that [hospitality] sector, made sure there are grants available to them, we’ve insured that they don’t have to pay business rates for a year.
“I completely understand that they have concerns about a restriction at 10pm but actually they are able to operate through large parts of the evening.”
Sharma also said that the 10pm curfew had worked in areas that have had local lockdowns and that people recognised its necessity.
“We are taking measure to support the industry, but I think that people also understand and appreciate the reason that we are taking these measures… the reason is to keep this thing under control.”
Sharma’s comments come as more than a 100 UK hospitality businesses have written a letter to the Prime Minister warning that without additional and urgent support many businesses will collapse.
Sharma also pointed out that he had pushed through legislation to allow hospitality businesses to trade outside, although he admitted that the autumn weather might make the ability to trade outside unfeasible for many.
“If it’s pelting it down with rain it’s not such an attractive proposition to be sitting outside. I know how hard it is for may of these businesses,” he said.
The Government is expected to announce additional measures to help curb the spread of Coronavirus at a press conference later today.
While Sharma said that Government policies would be kept under review, he failed to respond to the direct question of whether the Government would reverse the 10pm curfew if it was proved to be ineffectual.