G-A-Y nightclub owner launches lawsuit over 10pm Covid curfew


Nightclub operator G-A-Y has launched a legal battle against the Department of Health, in an effort to overturn the 10pm curfew on bars, pubs and restaurants.

Amid mounting criticism of the curfew, G-A-Y, which runs the renowned Heaven club at the heart of London’s gay nightlife scene, wrote to the health secretary, Matt Hancock, advising him it was preparing to take legal action.

Law firm Simpson Millar, acting for G-A-Y, questioned the logic behind the “arbitrary decision” to impose a 10pm curfew, a restriction that has sent sales plunging and left many businesses fearing they won’t survive the winter.

Simpson Millar said the government had not provided any evidence to support the restriction, which “seems to lack any obvious rational or scientific basis”.

Critics have said the measure is not only damaging to the hospitality sector but may actually be counterproductive, due to the large number of people gathering in the streets or homes after 10pm, or crowding onto public transport at the same time.

G-A-Y has asked the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to provide any evidence that it has for the efficacy of the measure by 4pm on Tuesday.

Heaven nightclub



G-A-Y also runs the Heaven nightclub near London’s Charing Cross station. Photograph: David Pearson/Alamy

A DHSC spokesperson said: “The latest data suggests a considerable rise in the infection rate following people socialising in hospitality venues serving alcohol in recent weeks, so we have taken immediate action to cut the transmission rate and save lives and will keep all measures under constant review.

“The 10pm closure allows people to continue to socialise while reducing the risk of failing to socially distance.”

Jeremy Joseph, the chief executive of G-A-Y, said the curfew “makes absolutely no sense”.

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“It does the opposite of protecting people by pushing them onto the street at the same time. They are going from being safe inside venues with staggered closing times to unsafe on overcrowded streets and overloaded public transport,” he added.

“The government seems to direct the blame for this action on the sector, consistently treating the night-time economy as a scapegoat when, in fact, we have years of operational experience of keeping customers safe, and have spent substantial time and effort making sure our venues are Covid secure.

“Enough is enough. Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson have to be made accountable.”



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