Night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, Sacha Lord, is to take his case for reopening the indoor hospitality sector at the same time as retail in April to the High Court.
Lord and his team gave the government a deadline of the end of yesterday to provide evidence as to why the sector isn’t being allowed to open on April 12 alongside non-essential stores, asking for specific advice from scientists ‘whether it is justifiable to prevent the hospitality industry opening whilst, at the same time, allowing non-essential shops to open’.
They argued that ‘transmission is plainly higher in non-essential shops,’ and said they would pursue legal action if the government did not provide data to the contrary.
Last night Lord tweeted: “We’ve just received the Governments response. They have FAILED to introduce any new evidence as to why indoor hospitality cannot open the same day as non-essential retail. We’ll now be working through the night to take our case to the High Court for a Judicial Review.”
New evidence also emerged that the Parliamentary Committee agreed that the government needed to ‘publish data that underpins the restrictions that will remain in place on business at each step of the roadmap as a matter of urgency’.
Since the roadmap was announced last month, Lord has championed tirelessly to push for an earlier return for pubs, restaurants and cafes, stressing that hospitality creates safe, secure and regulated environments.
This week his challenge was backed by Hugh Osmond, founder of Punch Taverns and former director of Pizza Express.
In a letter to the prime minister, they said there is no ‘evidence or justification’ to open shops five weeks before pubs and restaurants, and said it is ‘plainly irrational’.
Lord previously won a case against Health Secretary Matt Hancock that the substantial meal rule was discriminatory.