HOSPITALITY SECTOR MAKES EMOTIONAL PLEA TO NI EXEC FOR CLOSING TIME OF 1130PM IF CURFEW IMPOSED
23 September 2020
90 mins makes all the difference and trade will disappear over the border if 10pm shut down is imposed say business owners
The hospitality sector in Northern Ireland has made an emotional plea to the decision makers in the NI Executive to encourage them to choose a closing time of 11.30pm if a curfew is imposed.
The call comes as new regulations have been mooted which may force closing time to be brought forward to 10pm despite a whole host of legally enforceable regulations already agreed with the sector and brought in this week.
The sector has claimed that bringing forward the closing time by 90mins may seem like a small adjustment to many, but to business owners it’s the difference in making a minimal profit or nothing at all, even before staff and suppliers are paid.
Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster said:
“In the past 48 hours we have spoken to many in the sector who are really nervous about a closing time that is anything more restrictive than the 11.30pm benchmark if a curfew is imposed.”
“We understand that there may be a preference to align four nations of the UK when it comes to a 10pm closing time, but we have an industry made up of small businesses and a different culture that sees people coming out later than GB.
“We also share a physical land border with the Republic of Ireland and that many will lose out on trade that will disappear across the border.”
“This already has been an extremely difficult 6 months, so why would our locally elected politicians compound the situation by bringing forward a problem we could do without.”
“The difference between 10pm and 11:30pm may just be 90 minutes, but in reality is 50-70% of an already reduced income and will reduce staff hours or the need to bring staff back off furlough.”
“We would ask that the NI Executive listens to the heartfelt plea of the sector and chooses a 11.30pm closure time if a curfew is imposed to give some chance to those who have had such an awful time in the last number of months.”