BARS and restaurants across the county have come together campaigning to “cancel the curfew” imposed by the government.

Cancel the Curfew is a national campaign set up by hospitality businesses calling for a review of the 10pm curfew, stating it is “crippling” businesses.

Brewhouse & Kitchen, Chaplin’s, Larder House and the Lost Paradise Bar all took part, being photographed outside their respective bars with signs calling for an end to the curfew.

And Brewhouse & Kitchen owner Kris Gumbrell said he wanted to hear the scientific evidence behind the restriction.

Mr Gumbrell told the Daily Echo: “We feel pretty strongly, we would like to know the evidence behind it. We feel as a sector that we are being blamed for an increase in cases.

“We had five per cent of cases last week, this week it’s four, and there’s been a growth in places like work and schools.

“This is making a statement – we would like more information.”

Mr Gumbrell said they will do what they are asked to do but asked the government to consult with the sector and with SAGE on the curfew.

He continued: “This was dreamed up as a low-cost decision. We are expecting more hospitality businesses to go bust as a result of the curfew.

“This is not a campaign of disobedience. My own company spent tens of thousands of pounds on Covid protection and have seen transmission rates go down, so we feel somewhat hard done by.

“At the end of the day we have an obligation to protect businesses and businesses can’t last with these restrictions.

“We are not sticking two fingers up, we are asking for more information.”

In London, the owner of nightclub G-A-Y has mounted a legal challenge against the restrictions.

Jeremy Joseph said he is seeking a judicial review to overturn the curfew, stating it “makes no sense”.

And hospitality bosses have called on MPs to help the cause and ditch the curfew.

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood described the curfew as “ill-considered and clumsy”.

He said: “I’ve raised it with Rishi Sunak one-to-one and said please don’t punish the hospitality industry. They’ve been hit hard, they’re genuinely appreciative of the economic interventions but this undoes much of that good work. I understand this wasn’t promoted by SAGE but was picked up and co-opted from its use in other countries.”

Mr Ellwood added there is a need to balance issues of health and the economy, and he was advising hotels that they don’t necessarily need to send diners back to their rooms at 10pm sharp.

A government spokesperson said: “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.”