Andy Burnham calls for urgent review of 10pm pub curfew
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has called for an urgent review of the 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants.
Mr Burnham said it had resulted in people gathering in shops and homes once the bars closed.
“I received reports that the supermarkets were absolutely packed out to the rafters with people gathering,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“I think there needs to be an urgent review of the emerging evidence from police forces across the country.
“My gut feeling is that this curfew is doing more harm than good. It creates an incentive for people to gather in the street or more probably to gather in the home.
“That is the opposite of what local restrictions here are trying to do.”
Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, tweeted: “It’s very clear, across the UK, that this ill-thought-out 10pm curfew, has pushed everyone out of venues with socially distanced measures, into the streets, into off-licences, supermarkets, overcrowded public transport and house parties. Every operator predicted this. Shambolic.”
However, health minister Helen Whately has defended the Government’s curfew for pubs and restaurants.
“As people drink more they tend to socially distance less. So one approach to keeping people socially distancing is to limit the amount of time that people are in places where they are drinking and then this breaking down of compliance with the rules,” she told BBC1’s Breakfast programme.
“We have also seen in some of the places where there have been higher rates over the summer that sometimes bars have been the places where there has been an outbreak so this is a reason why one of the actions we have taken is to have people stopping being out drinking at an earlier time.”
Ms Whately said the Government could not rule out the prospect that university students may be unable to return home at Christmas.
“We want them to be home for Christmas. Everybody wants to come home and spend Christmas with family. We want that very much to be the case,” she said.
“Christmas is some time off yet and it is down to all of us to get this under control so we can spend Christmas with our families.”