BOURNEMOUTH’S two Conservative MPs are being ‘implored’ to lobby the government to end the 10pm coronavirus curfew in the hospitality sector.

The chairman of Bournemouth’s Town Centre BID, Martin Davies, has written to the MPs asking them to use their influence to get the rules changed.

The Town Centre BID represents more than 700 levy-paying businesses with 225 of them in the hospitality industry.

Many other businesses including hotels, those on the seafront and in Westbourne and Southbourne are represented by the Coastal BID.

Mr Davies said the curfew is ‘crippling’ the sector and warns of ‘impending catastrophe’ locally and nationally.

In a hard hitting letter he tells Tobias Ellwood and Conor Burns: “Hospitality is not like a traditional retail business where a transaction can be completed within minutes.

“By insisting on a 10pm curfew, especially in outlets where food is consumed on the premises, an entire sitting is being wiped out.

“Given the additional number of restrictions including table service and the rule of six, it is not alarmist to foresee a significant number of closures and job losses not only in Bournemouth but across the conurbation.”

He adds: “This is also true of the bar and nightlife element of the sector where not only viable, but thriving businesses are in serious risk of disappearing – the immense frustration felt by the operators is the apparent lack of empirical evidence to substantiate the focus on hospitality.

“These business owners are skilled in running their organisations and we would argue have done more than most to comply with regulations and guidance.

“Nightclubs remain the unforgotten businesses representing cultural significance in our community and society and yet facing closure.”

Mr Davies reminds the MPs the hospitality sector has always been vital to Bournemouth’s economy and says ten new hospitality businesses have opened in the past three months – nine of them in premises vacated by retail outlets.

And although he says everyone recognises the Chancellor has done much to support business, he adds: “Unless there is a review of the measures then there will be a significant number of these thriving businesses lost.

“When the government for public policy reasons, decides to close an entire sector of our economy, it must surely have a responsibility to support those businesses until it allows them to re-open.”

Andy Lennox, founder of Zim Braai and the lobby group Wonky Table said: “As a industry we are on a cliff edge, we came back from the abyss of March by sheer force of will yet now we are being demonised and scapegoated by the Government with little to no support.

"The night time economy is on it knees, begging for help – yet they have still had none. Restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs and events are going out of business on a daily basis.

“We need support, by the public, by the press, by our BIDs, our MPs, our councils and ultimately by the Government.

“We continue to be safe, we continue to rise to the challenge and we continue to do what we do best – yet with the never ending changes, rules and restrictions – we must ask ourselves – will it be enough”