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Hugh Osmond joins legal battle to reopen indoor hospitality | Article

Hugh Osmond, the current director of Various Eateries, has joined Sacha Lord’s legal challenge against the government to reopen indoor hospitality at the same time as non-essential retail next month.

Osmond, founder of Punch Taverns and former Pizza Express director, wrote to Boris Johnson about the prime minister’s “irrational decision” to stall the hospitality industry’s reopening.

According to Johnson’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown, outdoor hospitality and non-essential retail will be allowed to reopen in England on 12 April.

On social media, the restaurant guru said: “I’m supporting Sacha Lord take legal action over the government’s decision to delay the opening of hospitality industry for five weeks after non-essential retail.”

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality’s CEO, said: “The swift vaccine rollout and its impact on case numbers is extremely positive. It gives us hope that the government will be able to deliver on its commitment to make this the last ever lockdown and, most importantly, to remove all social distancing restrictions for good on 21 June.

“While any restrictions remain in place, our pubs and restaurants can only break even and the viability of thousands remains at risk – we lost over 12,000 in the last year alone.”

She added: “That is why we urge the government to review the roadmap and look to remove or reduce restrictions on trading – table service, online or takeaway only, no standing outdoors – at the earliest possible opportunity.

“It may also be possible to allow some limited indoor operations to resume at an earlier date. While we understand the need for caution, we would urge the Government to review the roadmap again and make decisions based on data, not dates.”

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