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Bar Owner: Let Us Open In Morning

By YOURI KEMP

Tribune Business Reporter

ykemp@tribunemedia.net

A pub owner yesterday suggested that he and other bar operators should be allowed to open at 9am in the morning to compensate for the hours lost to the night-time curfew.

Marcian Sawyer, owner/operator of the Crew Pub, told Tribune Business that amending his licence to allow morning openings would enable the business to generate more sales/cash flow and assist in helping to cover an ever-increasing pile of bills.

“Closing up at 9pm is detrimental for a business that wants as much bodies in it at one time. When you’re only operating for half the amount of time in the day, that’s half the amount of total sales,” Mr Sawyer said.

“The extra morning hours would help. I have construction workers come in well before my 11am opening time to ask me if I am serving. I find that once you open the doors, people will come in no matter what time of the day it is once you are serving alcohol.”

Mr Sawyer added: “Being a law-abiding citizen I am losing. I can’t open my bar at 9am or else they would close me down. I can’t believe that the Government is saying they want to stop the spread of COVID-19 and implemented a curfew, but they are now relaxing the curfew [for one night] with the cases rising even higher.

“The previous reasoning was that people who are out later are drinking and partying more and gallivanting, so if that’s the case why was yesterday so different? Regardless, I don’t think the curfew really does anything positive to reduce the COVID-19 numbers seeing how they are still on the rise. Curfews don’t seem to be working.”

Mr Sawyer spoke out after the Government relaxed the curfew for election night only, pushing the start time back from 9pm to 11.59pm. No explanation was given for the extra three hours, and the curfew start time will revert to 9pm from tonight.

The Prime Minister’s Office has touted curfews as a measure that will restrict COVID-19’s spread. It has been employed as a key mitigation strategy since the pandemic’s start, with many bars and restaurants forced to close early despite having licences that allow them to be open until 2am.

Mr Sawyer added of the one-night curfew easing: “I don’t know what they were trying to do, but I honestly hope that in the very near future they decide to continue relaxing the curfew because these government ministers going around talking about how they want to try and help the small businesses, there is very little help going around.

“That Small Business Development Centre is a bunch of garbage, like very few people have ever even been accepted into their programme. I know I have applied twice and have been denied.”

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