Kingston First and Kingston Council are calling on the government to extend closing time to 11pm based on feedback from local hospitality businesses who say the extra hour will make a huge difference to their economic viability.
The Leader of the Council, Caroline Kerr, has said that the relaxation of the current 10pm curfew in the run up to the festive period will have a significant impact on the profitability of many pubs, restaurants and bars across the borough. She has been joined in her call by local MP Ed Davey, Kingston First and the Chamber of Commerce.
Cllr Kerr said: “In conversations with local businesses, Kingston First and the Chamber of Commerce it has become clear that one the of the things that would have the most impact for them at this difficult time is to relax the current 10pm curfew. It goes without saying that this would be within all the public health guidelines to ensure that people’s health is kept safe and social distancing is in place.
“Our local bars, restaurants, cafes and pubs are following all the government guidelines and have done all they can to keep our high streets open in a responsible and safe way. We and many of our residents are hugely grateful to them and the extension of the opening hours could make a huge difference to their future viability.”
Kirsten Henly, Chief Executive at Kingston First said: “The 10pm curfew has had a serious impact on Kingston’s restaurants, pubs and bars, completely changing their business models in already challenging circumstances. Since re-opening in the summer, venues have responded responsibly and carefully, putting in processes to prioritise the safety of their customers and staff. We support the calls for extending the 10pm curfew to later in the evening and we encourage people to continue to show their support for the local venues they love over the coming weeks.”
Forbes Law, Chief Executive of Kingston Chamber of Commerce, added: “The Kingston hospitality sector has worked very hard to implement all the necessary steps to make their venues safe but still welcoming, for their staff and for visitors. They have done everything asked and beyond. Hospitality is a core sector for Kingston and it generates economic value as well as acting as a social glue. The 10pm has had a serious impact in Kingston and it creates yet another hurdle for the sector to jump over, for very little discernible social benefit. We would support the call to extend the 10pm curfew. Every measure should be taken to support our hospitality sector, not just for now, but for the ongoing months or we could lose a valued and loved part of the community.”
Kingston Council has been working together with local businesses, Kingston Chamber of Commerce and Kingston First BID to support businesses. The Economic Recovery Task Force was created in July in response to COVID-19 and the resulting economic challenges the borough faces both now and in the future. The taskforce aims to deliver essential support programmes and activities to enable residents and businesses to adapt and thrive during and after the pandemic.
The taskforce, a partnership between the council, public sector and businesses is guiding and coordinating Kingston’s economic recovery with the aim of a fairer and greener economy by being more resilient, productive, sustainable and inclusive economy.
Members of the Economic Task Force include: Kingston Council, Kingston First, Kingston Chamber of Commerce, Kingston University, Kingston College, Greater London Authority, DWP (Kingston Job Centre Plus), Chessington World of Adventures, Merlin Entertainments, AVIVA Investors, Lidl GB Ltd , South London Partnership, Unilever UK & Ireland, Pangea. Task Force sub groups include other key business and voluntary sector partners