Hospitality sector calling for 'rethink' of 10pm curfew after increase in no shows

The BID said the curfew undermined the progress made by the Eat Out to Help Out scheme Credit: ITV Anglia

Businesses in Bury St Edmunds have called for the 10pm curfew on hospitality venues to be re-examined, claiming it is driving customers away.

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Emily Knight

According to Our Bury St Edmunds, the town's Business Improvement District (BID), the number of people not turning up for bookings has increased since the restriction was implemented last month.

David Marjoram, owner of The One Bull pub on Angel Hill, said: "Over the Saturday,Sunday and Monday after [the curfew] was brought in we had more than 50 people just not turn up or cancel on the day itself.

"It’s brutally hard particularly as Bury has for so long been recognised for its quality of food and drink establishments all of whom have worked so hard to make their premises as safe as possible for customers."

Our Bury St Edmunds said its undone all the good work of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. Credit: PA

A statement from the BID suggested the curfew actually prevented restricted the way businesses could control the numbers of people in their restaurants.

Mark Cordell, Chief Executive of the BID, said: "By having to close at 10pm it pushes back the latest time someone can book a table if they wish to eat.

"Now more have to book ‘sittings’ at the same time rather than a staggered approach which is actually more helpful to control numbers on the premises at any one time."

The group has written to the town's MP Jo Churchill to pass on their concerns, and said some businesses were struggling to remain viable.

One of those is the LP Bar, which has started operating seven days a week to make up for the hours they are losing after 10pm.

Mike Garling, who owns the bar, said: "We are a late night venue and would normally have people here between 10pm and 3am so my staff have lost significant hours of work and tips.

"We saw how much people wanted to be able to go out and enjoy themselves during August and despite the increasingly stringent rules that pubs and bars have to comply with, we are doing our best to offer a welcome but most of all safe environment."