I visited Ossett Brewery and met with their MD, Jamie. They are an employer of close to 400 high quality jobs across their network of breweries and pubs with real potential for growth and expansion. Like many others in the hospitality industry; the imposition of the 10pm curfew has placed businesses like this in real jeopardy.
I am working hard to help the government understand the catastrophic impact the curfew has on the entire hospitality industry and dependent businesses that form its supply chain. In the case of Ossett Brewery a lockdown of pubs will merit the closure of the Brewery – placing hundreds of jobs at risk. If restaurants are restricted – the supplier of fresh produce sees his wares unsold, rotting away like the patience of my constituents.
After spending tens of thousands on making establishments COVID secure, remodelling economic output on as little as 50% year on year capacity just to make it through until next year, vendors in my constituency tell me they feel they have had the carpet pulled from under their feet. Some may say ‘it is just another hour’ – but when you’ve finished a hard day’s work at 7 on a Friday evening, get showered and changed ready go to out, only for last orders to be called at 9:15pm, many people will just think, ‘Ah – forget it’ and stay in!
The curfew is grounded in scant scientific evidence and in my view, forces people OUT of COVID secure environments onto the street all at once, and encourages rogue risk taking and mixing of households. This is not the message of support that the hospitality industry needs right now.
This is why I am against the imposition of the 10pm curfew and advocate for a balanced approach to COVID-19 that weighs economic, mental, physical and other harms lockdown measures necessitate against the limited proven benefits of their imposition. We must safeguard lives and livelihoods.