Pubs: Govt threatened with legal action over reopening plans

High profile members of the British pub industry have stated intention to sue the government over post-lockdown reopening plans.

Sacha Lord, the night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, and Hugh Osmond, found of Punch Taverns, have written to Boris Johnson, stating their intention to legally challenge the phased reopening schedule.

The main point of contention is that under current rules pubs would not be permitted to open indoor spaces until five weeks after non-essential retail.

Landlords, publicans, staff, and drinkers have repeatedly been left baffled by the encumbent Tory government’s stance on pubs during lockdown. The British hospitality industry has continuously been left last in reopening plans, and been used as a scapegoat for covid restrictions – despite there being no imperical evidence that pubs, bars or restaurants have led to meaningful outbreaks.

“Discrimination and unsubstantiated beliefs, rather than facts, scienes and evidence, lie at the heart of much of the Government’s approach to hospitality and these wrongs need to be rights,” commented Osmond.

The latest blow to the trade has been the inability to sell takeaway drinks, when supermarkets, off licenses and delivery services have been permitted to do so. Whilst this in itself will do little to allay the mountain of overhead debt being taken on by publicans, it is indicative of the government’s complete determination to decimate hospitality, whatever the cost.

Lord and Osmond’s letter states that judicial proceedings will be issued if ministers do not consult SAGE on “whether it is justifiable to prevent the hospitality industry opening whilst, at the same time, allowing non-essential shops to open (when the risk of transmission is plainly higher in non-essential shops).”

The pair have given Johnson’s team the deadline of 17 March to respond.

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