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City businesses demand end to ‘damaging’ 10pm Covid curfew

PUBLISHED: 06:36 15 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:05 15 October 2020

Norwich BID has backed calls to revise the 10pm curfew, which it says is

Norwich BID has backed calls to revise the 10pm curfew, which it says is "extremely damaging" for the hospitality industry. Picture: Getty

David Molina Grande

The Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) has called for changes to the hospitality industry’s curfew due to it causing “more harm than good”.

In a letter to local MPs, BID requested an “urgent” review into the 10pm curfew and said it was “extremely damaging” to an industry struggling with the economic challenges of coronavirus.

BID said the current curfew “unjustly targets” the hospitality sector which “according to Public Health England accounts for just 5pc of Covid-19 cases”.

As a result, it has called for the current curfew to be cancelled after expressing concern it could be contributing to growing coronavirus cases in the city.

In Norwich, the rate of infection has more than doubled in one week from 91.8 per 100,000 people in the seven days up to October 10, from 44.8 the previous week.

BID said: “The curfew has created large numbers of people leaving venues at the same time, causing groups to congregate drinking in unregulated places, such as the streets, and placing unprecedented challenge on the transport infrastructure to cope in a Covid-19 compliant way.

“It is also counter-intuitive to close venues, but then allow off-licenses and supermarkets to continue to serve alcohol and further facilitate street drinking and large gatherings in private homes.”

Instead, BID wants the current curfew replaced by “practical solutions” which ensure “public health remains a priority”. Staggered closures and enforcement were outlined in the letter as a “logical way forward”.

It also asked the government to focus its efforts on ensuring hospitality venues were able to operate safely, irrespective of opening hours, along with providing sector-specific support.

BID said: “We would support a curfew that demonstrably reduced transmission and reduced threats to the customers, workers and visitors of Norwich city centre.

“We recognise the importance of the health and safety of those leaving their homes to visit our city centre; to that end we need to be absolutely confident in the terms of the current curfew, and – it its present iteration – we believe it is doing more harm than good.”

“We believe in the businesses of our city; we need to act now in order for them to have a viable future.”

To read the letter visit www.norwichbid.co.uk/news/cancel-the-curfew

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