Sacha Lord legal challenge against delayed hospitality reopening date heads to High Court

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Sacha Lord legal challenge against delayed hospitality reopening date heads to High Court Hugh Osmond

Related tags Sacha Lord Legal challenge Coronavirus lockdown High court Judicial review

Sacha Lord is taking his legal challenge against the Government's decision not to allow hospitality to reopen for indoor service until five weeks after non-essential retail to the High Court.

The challenge, which was launched by the Greater Manchester night time economy advisor earlier this month​​, argues that there is a lack of evidence to justify the delayed reopening of the sector.

It comes off the back of a previous action by Lord, which forced the Government to drop its ‘substantial meal' rule.

The Government had until yesterday (17 March) to respond the latest challenge, which is also backed​ by hospitality entrepreneur Hugh Osmond.

In an update last night (17 March), Lord announced that the Government had failed to provide evidence for why indoor hospitality cannot open at the same time as non-essential retail, and that he would now be taking the case to the High Court for a judicial review. 

The Government's current roadmap out of lockdown provides an indicative date for non-essential retail to reopen on 12 April.

Outdoor hospitality settings will be able to reopen on the same day, however, under the plans indoor hospitality will not be able to unlock until 17 May 'at the earliest'.

Lord said: "While we're pleased beer gardens will be reopening from 12 April, many venues don't have the space or financial capabilities to have an outdoor area, and as we know very well in Manchester, the weather is not always kind.

"Operators have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds creating indoor Covid secure environments, as advised by Ministers themselves, and we firmly believe these regulated, ventilated venues have much safer measures and greater social distancing in place than retail stores. 

"This is not a hospitality versus retail argument, but Government decisions must operate on a level playing field and be supported by evidence. We currently see no clear justification for the delay." 

According to Lord's team, research has predicted the decision to delay the reopening of indoor hospitality will cost the sector £7bn over the five weeks.

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