Campaigners 'delighted' by court ruling in pubs and restaurants case

A judge has ordered that the Health Secretary provide a response by next Friday to a legal challenge over the reopening of indoor pub and restaurant spaces.

The case has been brought by Sacha Lord, the Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, and businessman Hugh Osmond.

They want the Health Secretary Matt Hancock to explain why he is allowing non-essential shops to open before pubs and restaurants.

Outdoor hospitality can reopen from April 12, but indoor pub and restaurant spaces will have to stay closed until at least mid-May. 

Sacha Lord

Mrs Justice Eady also ruled that there should be a further hearing of the case as soon as possible the week after next.

  • Kevin McAvoy, owner of Seven Brothers brewery in Salford says it is running to around 20% capacity.

From April 12 at the earliest, shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens will be allowed to reopen.

But indoor hospitality and entertainment venues and the rest of the accommodation sector will not be able to open their doors until at least May 17.

Mr Osmond tweeted: "The Government today asked the Court to refuse our request for expedition of our case. Mrs Justice Eady disagreed and the case will indeed be expedited as we had asked. Excellent news!"

Health Secretary Matt Hancock

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman had previously said: "As the Prime Minister has said, we want this lockdown to be the last.

"Our road map sets out a phased approach to cautiously easing restrictions, informed by scientific experts, and we continue to act in response to the latest available evidence to protect the NHS and save lives.

"We have continued to support the hospitality sector throughout the pandemic, including our new £5 billion Restart Grant scheme, extending the furlough scheme and the VAT cut, and providing 750,000 businesses in hospitality and other sectors with business rates relief."

Officials are planning a series of trial events over the coming months as they look to find a way for venues such as football grounds and nightclubs to reopen without the need for social distancing.