INTRODUCTION of the 10pm curfew last week has caused concerns about crowds outside takeaways and off-licences as well as the long-term viability of curry houses in Bradford.

An organisation has issued a warning about crowds outside takeaways and off-licences in West Yorkshire after the government introduced the 10pm curfew on Thursday, September 25.

Two Bradford Moor ward councillors have also spoken out about confusion around the new rules and the devastating impact the curfew is having on restaurants and takeaways in their ward, including those on Leeds Road.

"Bradford Moor is well occupied by some of the best curry houses in the Bradford district said," said Councillor Mohammed Shafiq (Lab, Bradford Moor). "Businesses have been told to comply with government legislation but there is some confusion about the guidelines.

"In the local area, most businesses are complying with the new legislation but the fear is that the curfew is really having an impact on trade and these businesses are feeling the pinch."

And the last thing that Coun Zafar Iqbal (Lab, Bradford Moor) said wants to hear is a business having to close down because of the curfew.

"Closing at 10pm doesn't help businesses at all and these business are really confused about the guidelines from central government," he said. "They should be to stay open until midnight. Five hours of business doesn't generate enough income for them.

"It's ridiculous," he added. "It's not going to reduce the infection rates because restaurants get so busy in those five hours with more people in the restaurant.

"It's a negative impact on both the economy and infection rates."

Despite the financial impact of the hospitality sector, enforcement of the curfew is taking place.

Partners in West Yorkshire Prepared, whose teams of environmental health and licensing officers accompanied by West Yorkshire Police, have targeted key areas of towns and cities across the region to ensure businesses are following the new rules.

Over 300 visits to licensed premises have taken place across West Yorkshire and, although most are adhering to the new regulations, four have been issued with closure notices and one with a prohibition notice.

Glynn Humphries, corporate director for communities, environment and climate change at Wakefield Council, said: “Unfortunately, we did see some issues arising of people congregating around takeaways and off licences, once the bars and pubs had closed.

"It’s important to note that, although takeaways are currently still able to offer home deliveries after 10pm, they must not allow customers on their premises. Collections can only take place via a drive through, or by car where the customer remains in the vehicle – i.e. the takeaway is placed in the boot.

“We will continue to offer help to any business that needs it but we will also take swift action against those who do not follow the rules, in order to protect our residents.”

Further information regarding the new regulations is being sent directly to takeaway owners to ensure they are clear on the rules.

Those not adhering to the new legislation could be fined £1,000 for the first offence, increasing each time there is a further offence (up to £10,000) as an alternative to prosecution.

Coun Shafiq added: "These are already very tough times and the knock-on impact of reduced trade is felt by families. I don't want to see more poverty.

"Local businesses are at brink of collapse and urgent clarification and support is needed from the government to offer support for the industry to continue to survive.

With little support available at present, Coun Shafiq is calling on the government to extend the furlough scheme, offer grants to businesses to help them pay their staff's wages or offer support to pay business rates.