"the fear is that the curfew is really having an impact"
The introduction of the 10 pm Covid-19 curfew has caused concerns about crowds outside takeaways and off-licences as well as the long-term viability of curry houses in Bradford.
The curfew was introduced on September 25, 2020, but now, two Bradford Moor ward councillors have spoken out about the confusion around the new rules.
They also revealed the devastating impact the curfew is having on restaurants and takeaways in their ward, including those on Leeds Road.
Councillor Mohammed Shafiq said: “Bradford Moor is well occupied by some of the best curry houses in the Bradford district said.
“Businesses have been told to comply with government legislation but there is some confusion about the guidelines.
“In the local area, most businesses are complying with the new legislation but the fear is that the curfew is really having an impact on trade and these businesses are feeling the pinch.”
Councillor Zafar Iqbal said that the last thing he wants to hear is a business being forced to close down because of the curfew.
He said: “Closing at 10 pm doesn’t help businesses at all and these businesses are really confused about the guidelines from central government.
“They should be to stay open until midnight. Five hours of business doesn’t generate enough income for them.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s not going to reduce the infection rates because restaurants get so busy in those five hours with more people in the restaurant.
“It’s a negative impact on both the economy and infection rates.”
To ensure that businesses are following the Covid-19 curfew rules, over 300 visits have taken place across West Yorkshire.
Although most are abiding by the new rules, four have been issued with closure notices and one with a prohibition notice.
Glynn Humphries, corporate director for communities, environment and climate change at Wakefield Council, said:
“Unfortunately, we did see some issues arising of people congregating around takeaways and off licences, once the bars and pubs had closed.
“It’s important to note that, although takeaways are currently still able to offer home deliveries after 10 pm, they must not allow customers on their premises.
“Collections can only take place via a drive-through, or by car where the customer remains in the vehicle – i.e. the takeaway is placed in the boot.
“We will continue to offer help to any business that needs it but we will also take swift action against those who do not follow the rules, in order to protect our residents.”
Further information regarding the new regulations is being sent directly to takeaway owners to ensure they understand the rules.
Those breaching the rules could be fined £1,000 for the first offence, increasing each time up to £10,000.
Councillor Shafiq added: “These are already very tough times and the knock-on impact of reduced trade is felt by families. I don’t want to see more poverty.
“Local businesses are at brink of collapse and urgent clarification and support is needed from the government to offer support for the industry to continue to survive.”
Councillor Shafiq has called on the government to extend the furlough scheme, offer grants to businesses to help them pay wages or offer support to pay business rates.