Cancel the Curfew campaign backed by Mojo in Harrogate as bars protest 10pm closure rules

A Harrogate bar is backing a move to refuse to serve any MP after the introduction of the Government's 10pm curfew.

Monday, 5th October 2020, 11:07 am
Updated Monday, 5th October 2020, 11:10 am
Mojo, which has bars in Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Liverpool and Harrogate, is refusing to serve any MP until the Government either calls off the 10pm curfew or provides financial assistance to the industry.

The ban by the famous Yorkshire-based, rock n roll-loving independent Mojo chain of bars, which includes a Mojo on Parliament Street in Harrogate, comes a fortnight after pubs, bars and restaurants across England were forced to close by 10pm under tough restrictions announced by Boris Johnson.

The scale of the dismay leading to the move can be judged by the fact that Mojo, which boasts the legend "Music for the people. Food for the Soul. Good times forever" was itself used by the Government as a test case for how best to operate in a COVID safe manner.

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Malcolm Evans, a long-standing director of Mojo who launched the Harrogate outlet in person in 2018, said the curfew was "murdering the hospitality sector."

Mr Evans said: "We were trading well all told considering the reduced capacity and COVID procedures.

"But the reduction in hours on top has decimated business."

Mr Evans said Mojo had gone to great lengths to make the bar Covid-secure and to make sure that "our customer journey is a COVID safe one, whilst still being a worthwhile and enjoyable experience."

Mojo, which pioneered the new style of bars in Leeds in the late 1990s before expanding successfully to Manchester, Nottingham, Liverpool and Harrogate, is refusing to serve any Member of Parliament until the Government either calls off the curfew or provides financial assistance to the industry.

Martin Greenhow, managing director of Mojo, has joined forces with other leaders in the hospitality industry to back the nationwide #cancelthecurfew campaign.

Explaining the move to ban MPs from his venues, Mr Greenhow said: "We would never want to turn anyone away but if they won't serve us, we won't serve them.

"They hold all the power but there is an awful lot of us. We encourage everybody, every worker in hospitality, to share our campaign and make the same statement."

The #cancelthecurfew campaign has sent a statement to the Prime Minister, warning that the move to implement a 10pm curfew could be the "final nail in the coffin" for an already struggling industry.

Mr Greenhow said: “The curfew has been catastrophic. We have lost six to seven key hours on a weekend when we've already lost 60 per cent of our capacity.

“When we came back from lockdown we were trading at about 80 per cent of what it was before which wasn’t ideal but with some help it was manageable.

“Along came the curfew and we dropped from 85 per cent to 20."

Having been around for more than 20 years since the days of Loaded magazine and its Mojo-loving Leeds-based editor James Brown, there have only been five of the renowned famous "Music for the People" bars.

From its earliest days in the Britpop era, Mojo has aimed to create a high octane environment with great liquor, eats and the best rock n’ roll music from every decade.

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