On Monday, October 12th, U.K. officials announced a three-tiered system that will impose lockdowns whose strictness will vary based on the severity of a region’s COVID-19 situation. For now, Manchester is at a level two – but if it escalates to three, key figures in nightlife are prepared to fight the guidance in court.
After it was reported that Manchester would be placed in tier three for “very high risk,” Greater Manchester Night Time Economy Advisor Sacha Lord has enlisted lawyers to challenge the legality of the emergency restrictions. According to Manchester Evening News, the move was supported by the Night Time Industries Association, The British Beer and Pub Association, and numerous Greater Manchester establishments. “We have been given no tangible scientific evidence to merit a full closure of hospitality and entertainment sectors and have been left with no option than to escalate the matter with legal action,” Lord tweeted.
U.K. authorities later announced that Manchester would remain in level two, but Lord promised to “keep their legal challenge ready” in case stricter guidelines are imposed.
The potential opposition think they have a case nonetheless. Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden has said that “academic evidence” supports the argument that there’s “quite a high risk associated with hospitality settings.”
On the same day U.K. lawmakers unveiled the three-tiered system, Arts Council England announced a round of Culture Recovery Fund recipients for grants totaling £257 million. A total of 1,385 cultural institutions were awarded aid – but Arts Professional reports that 578 were rejected.
At the time of writing, nearly 618,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the U.K. according to the World Health Organization.
Image credit: Alexander Popov