The 10pm closing time for pubs and restaurants in England was introduced in September as part of an effort to arrest the spread of COVID-19. I know that this curfew, and the pandemic more generally, was very difficult for our hospitality sector and its customers; and I believe that any measures to control the virus must be reasonable and proportionate.
I am pleased, therefore, that the Government has recognised that the original curfew was something of a blunt instrument, and that now the second national lockdown has ended, pubs and restaurants in Tiers 1 and 2 are able to stay open until 11pm, with last orders at 10pm. This strikes a better balance between the need to keep our society as open and free as possible, and the need to reduce the risk of failure to properly socially distance.
Unfortunately, Greater Manchester has been placed in Tier 3 post-lockdown, and has remained there since, which means hospitality must remain closed, except for takeaway and delivery services. I do not believe this is right for Stockport borough, as we have consistently had a lower case rate than the average for Greater Manchester, and therefore I voted against Stockport being placed in Tier 3 at the end of the lockdown. Tiers are still subject to review every 14 days, and I will continue to make the case for Stockport to be moved out of Tier 3 as soon as possible, so our pubs, bars, and restaurants can reopen.
Many restrictions this autumn have been necessary to control the virus and protect the NHS, but I believe Cheadle’s current place in Tier 3 is unnecessary. I look forward to our pubs and restaurants being able to reopen on these new, more flexible terms as soon as possible, and to the rollout in the near future of a vaccine that allows us to open up, regain our freedoms, and go about our lives safely.