An investigation into the impact of the 10pm curfew has been ordered by the Tory leader of Westminster council after two weekends when huge crowds of diners and drinkers gathered on West End streets after the deadline.
Rachael Robathan said she has asked officers to look at how the curfew is working and whether it represents a threat to the health of people thrown out of pubs and restaurants at the same time.
She told the Standard: “I have concerns about the effects of groups of people emerging onto our streets at the same time and I have asked council officers to gather evidence on how the curfew is operating. We need to work with central Government to ensure restaurants and bars can earn a living while doing all to keep people safe.”
The move comes ahead of an expected Commons vote on the curfew tomorrow night when dozens of Conservative MPs are likely to vote against the measure, which was introduced by Boris Johnson last month to help slow down the “second wave” of the pandemic.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said he accepted that “everyone is very frustrated and tired” about measures that restrict their daily lives.
Latest industry figures show that the curfew has had a dramatic impact on revenues on the hospitality industry.
Data from specialist hospitality sector online hiring firm S4labour show that sales fell 21.1 per cent last week compared with the week before it was introduced.
Food sales were down by 19.1 per cent and drink by 23.2 per cent. Compared with the same week last year, London hospitality sales were down 38.4 per cent.
Richard Hartley of S4labour said: “This level of decline is unprecedented and worrying for the industry.”
Meanwhile, research by the Night Time Industries Association showed that almost 60 per cent of member businesses have started making redundancies since the curfew came in and nine in 10 said the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan will not help them retain the current workforce.