‘An ill-thought policy’ – pubs and restaurants open up about 10pm curfew impact

PUBLISHED: 11:04 03 October 2020

Restaurants and pubs currently have to close at 10pm. Picture: Free-Photos/Pixabay

Restaurants and pubs currently have to close at 10pm. Picture: Free-Photos/Pixabay

Archant

The owners of pubs in Welwyn and Datchworth have reacted to the introduction of the 10pm curfew, that forces all pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues to close earlier.

The introduction of the curfew was designed to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, but it has also had a detrimental impact on businesses.

Adam Richardson, landlord of the White Horse in Welwyn, said: “We’re down by about 30 per cent week-on-week since it came in. We have just invested £9000 in a Giant Tipi to give us an additional solution for the winter months - it’ll now be more difficult to repay this investment.

“Our regular drinker trade has been affected most, food sales have been robust as diners tend to go out up until 8pm-ish.”

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Though he has introduced some new measures to combat the downturn in sales – such as introducing a Thursday Coffee & Cake morning – Adam admits this is “mostly to keep available hours for staff up where they are missing out later in the evenings”.

Speaking directly about the policy Adam said: “It’s an ill-thought out policy, and encourages everyone to spill out of pubs at one time, instead of a steady flow of people leaving on their own accord across a period of time. It increases the likelihood of anti-social behaviour, noise issues, and people congregating in groups on the street etc.”

James Bainbridge, joint owner of The Tilbury with his brother, explained the impact of the 10pm cutoff: “The curfew has affected the way we can take bookings with our last sitting now at 8.30pm giving us less ability to have two sittings on many tables. We have also noticed that people are drinking less, not just because of leaving earlier but also due to driving where they might not have if staying out later.

“We think an 11pm curfew could have been a more sensible approach as this would have had a less negative impact on pubs, bars and restaurants but still achieved what we perceive the goal is of less late night drinking and drunken socialising.

Tom and James Bainbridge own The Tilbury in Datchworth. Picture: Becky AlexanderTom and James Bainbridge own The Tilbury in Datchworth. Picture: Becky Alexander

“We believe that most pubs, bars and restaurants are a very safe place to visit and with all we have in place we know we are a covid secure place to come and socialise.

“We encourage the general public who may not agree with the rules to respect them and to not take any frustration out on our teams or request we bend the rules. Our teams are working incredibly hard in these difficult times and keeping upbeat and positive even though their jobs are more challenging than ever.”


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