Heaven and G-A-Y owner is taking the government to court over 10pm curfew

The new restriction "makes absolutely no sense," Jeremy Joseph said

05.10.20

Words by: Felicity Martin

Jeremy Joseph, boss of London’s Heaven, G-A-Y bars and its associated clubnights, is taking the UK government to court over its recent 10pm curfew restriction.

The live industry is currently arguing that the government has not been able to demonstrate why the 10pm curfew helps restrict the spread of the virus, and is demanding to see the data that justifies the new restriction.

There are also concerns that the curfew could transmit the virus further, with the new closing time for restaurants, bars and venues forcing more people onto public transport systems and streets at the same time, while also increasing the likelihood of unlicensed raves and house parties.

Explaining his decision to employ law firm Simpson Miller and barristers from Kings Chambers, Jeremy Joseph told CMU: “The 10pm curfew, which has now been in place for the last two weeks and has been detrimental to the hospitality sector, including G-A-Y, makes absolutely no sense. It does the opposite of protecting people by pushing them onto the street at the same time. They are going from being safe inside venues with staggered closing times to unsafe on overcrowded streets and overloaded public transport.”

“This government has failed to show why the 10pm curfew was put in place and has published no scientific evidence to substantiate its implementation,” he continued. “It seems to direct the blame for this action on the sector, consistently treating the night-time economy as a scapegoat when, in fact, we have years of operational experience of keeping customers safe, and have spent substantial time and effort making sure our venues are Covid secure. Enough is enough”.

He added: “Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson have to be made accountable and today we have instructed our legal team with the support of the Night Time Industries Association to serve the government with a pre-action protocol for judicial review to challenge the decision to implement the national curfew of 10pm on the hospitality sector”.

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), added: “The implementation of the 10pm curfew and further restrictions on the sector has had a catastrophic impact on business levels, resulting in thousands of businesses making the difficult decision to close the doors, or make staff redundant. The decision to implement a curfew makes no sense and has no published scientific or medical foundation to reduce transmission rates. If anything, it is counterproductive, with thousands leaving hospitality venues at 10pm, creating mass gatherings on the street and overcrowding public transport”.

Last week, representatives of the UK’s events industry staged a protest outside of Parliament to voice their concerns over the government’s Covid support measures.

Carl Cox recently spoke out against the UK government for saying the live industry is not “viable”, adding: “The people have spoken before, we fought for the right to party. Despite everything that the police and the politicians put us under, they had to give festivals and clubs the ability to give people what they wanted in their lives, in comfortable surroundings.”

Veteran house DJ Fat Tony recently appeared on Sky News to stress the importance of the UK’s live industry, stating: “You’re talking about an industry that makes £70 billion for the economy every year.” He continued: “My career is not dispensable, it’s not something you can throw away.”

The Let Us Dance campaign has started a petition which is nearing the 100,000 signatures it needs in order for it to be responded to by the government.