Tim Martin, founder of Weatherspoon Pubs, claimed that the government’s 10pm curfew was a public relations exercise amid reports that some venues were ignoring the rules.
Martin said pubs were not behind the increase in infections and that the government was closing pubs and restaurants at 10 p.m.
Sacha Lord, Nighttime Economy Adviser at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), said some venues may reject and ignore curfews because they face bankruptcy.
Martin, who founded the Weatherspoon Pub chain, told PA: “I think the government has nothing to do with it.
“Most people think of a pub, a vision from a young age, people dancing, loud music, bad behavior.
“Most pubs are not like that, not even a pub when it comes to social distance.
“Why did they do this?
“The only thing I can think of is that they have to have statistics on pubs, which are very low for broadcasting, so the reason they did it is because of PR.
“I want to see them do something.
“Curfew is a bad idea because now the transmission in pubs is relatively low.”
Of the 861 weather spoon pubs, 810 reported no infections last week, all running on tracks and traces, and only one infection was reported in 40 pubs, he said.
Martin said only hand washing and social distance had been shown to work against the spread of the virus, and asked parliament to “take charge” of discussing the way forward, with MPs suggesting how Sweden should deal with the epidemic.
He added: “Moonshots, circuit breaks, six rules, and now a curfew are not working scientifically.”
Lord, co-founder of one of Europe’s largest concerts, said the “stagnant progress” would end when pubs and bars all closed at the same time.
“I hope this returns to your traditional bell ringing in Quarter 10 and the doors close to 10.
“From what I heard, I talked to two operators, looking at competing in it, either breaking down or taking a chance, not sticking to the curfew.
“These operators are facing bankruptcy.
“Two people said, ‘We’m going to break up, they’ might try to get out of the curfew for another half hour or an hour, I’m not forgiving that.
“We have the largest student population in Europe (in Manchester).
“It simply came to our notice then.
“Students leave pubs and bars and don’t go to bed at 10pm.
“Come on time to get out at 10pm. I don’t think you’ll see crime and disorder, but the house party explosion.”
Appointed by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Bergenham in 2018 as advisor to the country’s night time economy, Mr Lord said the hospitality industry still employs 900,000 people, with over three million people nationwide employing more than 3 million people in Greater Manchester alone, supporting 420,000 jobs.
“Many people are afraid of their job this morning,” he said.
This area feels like kneeling today.
“I understand that complete safety should come first, but I don’t think it’s well thought out.”
The Lord said the government had done some “great things” to help the hospitality sector, but needed more support, citing the government’s support for hospitality in France and Spain in the Farluff project, which ends next month.
He added: “Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said that he will stay with the business. It feels good now. I’m not the only one saying this.
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