Manchester Hospitality Sector Launches Legal Challenge Over Lockdown Measures

Greater Manchester’s night-time economy adviser Sacha Lord has begun legal proceedings against the government over the tier 3 closure of hospitality venues which comes into effect today.

Mr Lord has announced a judicial review began on Tuesday into the legality of implementing emergency restrictions on the hospitality sector – closing pubs and bars not serving food across the region – “without any evidence” it would bring down transmissions of Covid-19.The industry claims there is no scientific justification in closing venues.

The challenge is being led by Kings Chambers and is supported by a group organisations, including The Night Time Industries Association, UK Hospitality and some of the region’s key venues, such as Alberts Schloss, Gusto and The Alchemist.

Sacha Lord said: “I think I speak for all involved in Greater Manchester’s night time economy in saying both the Government’s handling of these negotiations and the outcome yesterday are not what we had hoped for.

“We understand the public health need but fair financial support is crucial for those most severely affected and at risk of poverty and I am acutely aware of the disappointment felt both from our leaders and across the city region with the Government’s decision yesterday.

“I am heartbroken that pubs and bars across Greater Manchester will now be forced to close without any evidence that this will bring transmissions down.

“These same operators have worked tirelessly to abide by Government rules from the outset. They have accepted quick-fire lockdowns and spent thousands implementing the Government’s own recommended Covid-secure measures.”

He also warned that the measures will not only cause “severe mental anguish and devastate” operators but will also affect other businesses, including taxi drivers, performers and suppliers, adding that it was “inevitable” the move will trigger an increase in household socialising, where transmission is “prevalent”.

“Despite our calls, we have not been shown any clear, tangible scientific evidence to merit these closures,” he said.

“In fact, the only evidence we have seen is from Public Health England, whose own data has shown hospitality venues attributed to just three per cent of COVID transmissions in the past week.

“It is my belief that this new lockdown will recklessly destroy our night time economy.

“Yesterday, we commenced a Judicial Review into the legality of implementing these emergency restrictions on the hospitality sector without scientific evidence. I will update on the progress of this case in due course.”