‘This is going to be the final nail in the coffin’ – York bar owner calls pubs curfew ‘disastrous’

Inside Manahatta in York. Photograph: Richard McDougall
22 Sep 2020 @ 7.49 am
| Food & drink

“The 10pm curfew will be absolutely devastating for our business.”

That’s the view of one York bar owner.

Martin Wolstencroft is CEO of Arc Inspirations, which runs Manahatta in York and 16 more bars around Yorkshire.

The curfew, announced yesterday, will apply to all pubs, bars and restaurants in England, and will be introduced from Thursday.

“The 10pm curfew will be absolutely devastating for our business. It’s just such disastrous news,” Martin told Today on BBC Radio 4. “We worked so hard after lockdown building up our business.

“After 12 weeks we built up the confidence of our teams and our customers. We’ve done really well in Eat Out To Help Out, and we were just beginning to get ourselves moving again.

“So to hear this news over this last week is just so frustrating, so negative. We may as well not open some of our bars.”

As we reported yesterday, four members of staff at Manahatta have tested postive for Covid-19 and are now self-isolating.

Won’t cover costs

Martin Wolstencroft, CEO of Arc Inspirations

He said the timing couldn’t be worse. “After ten o’clock is when we start making money, because that’s when we get busier.

“It just won’t cover our costs for opening during the day.

“We don’t know how long it’s going to be for, what’s going to happen next. This is going to be the final nail in the coffin for many many operators.

“It’s just disastrous news.”

His comments echo those of Paul Crossman, York publican and chair of the national Campaign For Pubs.

In a letter to Boris Johnson he said any further restrictions “risks the failure of many pub businesses and the permanent closure of thousands of pubs”.