THE boss of Bradford Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has claimed businesses in the hospitality sector have been “unfairly targeted” in a letter to Shipley MP Philip Davies.
Peter Down, acting chairman of Bradford CAMRA, wrote: “Since being allowed to re-open on July 4, following the national lockdown on March 20, 2020, the hospitality trade has been unfairly targeted by the government’s precautionary measures and made to implement numerous additional Covid-19 precautionary measures not imposed on other forms of business.”
In the letter, Mr Down pointed out how important pubs and bars are to people’s well-being and mental health, saying: “If there is one thing the national lockdown has proven, it is the important role the hospitality sector, especially pubs and bars, plays in aiding the morale and happiness of the country’s population.
“To date, the government has been unable to provide a reasonable explanation as to why the hospitality sector has been targeted in its Covid-19 precautionary measures. The figures from Public Health England do not back this up.
He said that while Mr Davies had been supportive of the hospitality sector, the government’s “constant issuing of differing and changing directions gives the impression of knee-jerk reactions rather than pro-active thinking”.
“The current targeting of the hospitality sector is unfair without evidence to support it and unlikely to have a noticeable impact on controlling the spread of the virus.”
Shipley MP Philip Davies said: “I am wholly opposed to the arbitratry restrictions – I voted against the Rule of 6 and the 10pm curfew in the House of Commons which have no scientific basis for them at all.
“And, as I have repeatedly made clear, I am totally against shutting down the economy. I want pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars to remain open to customers.”
The news comes as arts bar and venue, The Brick Box Rooms, in Bradford city centre had to close permanently because it is too small to be “financially viable” under coronavirus restrictions.
Its bosses said: “Since Covid hit us all, we’ve been unable to reopen because the bar is just too small to be able to get enough socially distanced people in it to make it financially viable.”
John Rossiter and Lauren Pickup, who run the New Inn pub at Thornton, recently spoke about how the new restrictions have been impacting business.
They said : “Our turnover is massively down. Our pub’s appeal has changed. People don’t enjoy it as much as they used to and so fewer people are coming in.”
National pubs chain JD Wetherspoon, which runs four pubs in the Bradford area, has sunk into the red for the first time since 1984. They recorded a loss of £105.4 million after sales took a £556 million hit from the Covid-19 crisis.
Founder and chairman Tim Martin said the pubs sector has been unfairly targeted with restrictions.
He said table service and the 10pm curfew had been costly to the chain and renewed calls on the government to change regulations which continue to favour supermarkets.
He said: “It makes no sense for supermarkets to be treated more leniently than pubs, since pubs generate far more jobs per pint or meal than do supermarkets, as well as far higher levels of tax.”