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Hospitality bosses have launched a legal bid to take on the government over its plans to ease England out of lockdown, which includes allowing non-essential retail to open five weeks before hospitality businesses.
As part of the government's 'road-map' out of lockdown, non-essential shops are set to reopen from 12 April, along with outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens.
However, pubs and restaurants won't be able to open for indoor service until 17 May, which is something that hospitality bosses argue is 'plainly irrational'.
Sacha Lord, Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester and co-founder of the Warehouse Project club nights and Parklife Festival, has teamed up with Punch Taverns founder Hugh Osmond to call for a judicial review into the proposed plans.
In a letter submitted to the government's legal department, Lord and Osmond say that there is 'no evidence or justification for the prioritisation' of retail over hospitality.
They also claim plans could have a 'potentially indirectly discriminatory effect' on young people and those from BAME backgrounds working in hospitality.
Lord told Sky News: "We want to open at exactly the same time as non-essential retail. This is not hospitality vs. non-essential retail, it's just fairness."
Osmond said: "I believe we can show that discrimination and unsubstantiated beliefs, rather than facts, science and evidence, lie at the heart of much of the Government's approach to hospitality, and these wrongs need to be righted.
"This legal case will give a fighting chance to over three million people who work in hospitality, to the tens of thousands of businesses, suppliers, landlords and contractors - large and small - forced into bankruptcy, and to millions of our loyal customers who have been deprived of the human social interaction they experience in our premises.
"We won't ever be able to repair our health, recover our social lives or rebuild our economy if we allow our Government to lock us up and shut down the economy on the basis of such flawed logic, little justification or evidence.
"Our democracy should be better than this and on behalf of all those who have been affected by Government measures, and those of us who cherish British democracy and freedom, I hope our case can open up a chink of light at the end of this very dark chapter, so that we can - as the Prime Minister said - reclaim our lives and freedoms once and for all."
Writing on Twitter, Lord said: "We SHOULD be able to open indoors, with measures in place, at the same time as non essential retail.
"I'd go further to say it's even safer."
He added: "The Govt have until Wednesday to respond Hospitality needs time to re order, staff up etc.
"We need decent advance notice about re-opening.
"With that in mind, we'll ask that our case is expediated in the High Court.
"HOSPITALITY SHOULD RE OPEN THE SAME DAY AS NON ESSENTIAL RETAIL."
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