Legal Action Launched Over Indoor Hospitality Reopening Date

The Government is facing yet another legal challenge over its lockdown restrictions – this time on the plan to keep hospitality venues closed for weeks longer than “non-essential” shops. The Express and Star has the story.

Plans to keep indoor hospitality venues closed for weeks longer than non-essential shops in England are facing a legal challenge from a leading restaurateur and night tsar.

Hugh Osmond, the founder of Punch Taverns and a former director of Pizza Express, and Sacha Lord, Greater Manchester’s night time economy adviser, have submitted a claim for a judicial review to the Government.

They believe there is “no evidence or justification for the prioritisation” of non-essential retail over hospitality, and said it could have a “potentially indirectly discriminatory effect” on young people and people from BAME backgrounds working in hospitality.

Under the Prime Minister’s road map for unlocking restrictions in England, non-essential retail will open no earlier than April 12th. But indoor hospitality venues will not open until at least May 17th.

Mr Osmond, director of Various Eateries, said the Government must base its decisions on “evidence not prejudice” when taking “momentous and unprecedented actions affecting millions of its citizens”.

“I believe we can show that discrimination and unsubstantiated beliefs, rather than facts, science and evidence, lie at the heart of much of the Government’s approach to hospitality, and these wrongs need to be righted…

“We won’t ever be able to repair our health, recover our social lives or rebuild our economy if we allow our Government to lock us up and shut down the economy on the basis of such flawed logic, little justification or evidence.”

Many pubs – including the Turk’s Head Inn in Gloucester city centre – will not be able to open for outdoor service in May due to a lack of outdoor space and worries about the weather, highlighting the significance of this legal challenge.

Worth reading in full.

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