G-A-Y nightclub owner Jeremy Joseph launches legal challenge against Boris Johnson’s 10pm curfew

Boris Johnson Jeremy Joseph

Jeremy Joseph, owner of the iconic nightclub G-A-Y, has launched a legal challenge against Boris Johnson’s 10pm curfew, insisting it “makes absolutely no sense”.

Boris Johnson’s announced a new 10pm curfew for England’s pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants on 24 September, causing panic and frustration in the hospitality industry. The curfew was implemented less than three months after venues began to reopen. 

Now, a legal challenge against the curfew has been launched by Jeremy Joseph, who owns four queer venues – G-A-Y Bar and G-A-Y Late in Soho, London, and Heaven in Charring Cross, as well as G-A-Y in Manchester.

Joseph, who is represented by barristers at Kings Chambers, said in a statement: “The 10pm curfew which has now been in place for the last two weeks and has been detrimental to the hospitality sector, including G-A-Y, makes absolutely no sense.

“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.

“This government has failed to show why the 10pm curfew was put in place and has published no scientific evidence to substantiate its implementation.”

He added that the government was treating the hospitality and nightlife industry as a “scapegoat”, even though venues have “years of operational experience” keeping customers safe and have worked hard to create spaces that are COVID secure.

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

The legal challenge is supported by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), and the organisation’s CEO Michael Kill added that restrictions including the curfew were having a “catastrophic impact on business levels, resulting in thousands of businesses making the difficult decision to close the doors, or make staff redundant”.

A government spokesperson told Sky News: “Our measures strike a balance between saving lives by protecting our NHS and the most vulnerable and minimising the wider impact on the economy and schools.

“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.”