BUSINESSES can survive the new coronavirus measures introduced by the government, says the boss of a traders’ organisation.

Gavin Stewart, 47, who runs the business improvement district known as Brighton Brilliant, said the city should be able to weather the storm.

Brilliant Brighton was launched in 2006 and at that time involved some 300 traders all located in the heart of the city.

Today it is a collection of 517 shops, bars, restaurants and cafés.

Mr Stewart said retailers and business owners across the country will look to Brighton as an example of how the sector can survive the pandemic.

“I feel very positive about Brighton,” he said.

The Argus:

“We have been talking to other areas around the region and what we are hearing is that from a retail perspective, there will be a contraction of their businesses nationally but that they are going to seek to go into regional hubs.

“Brighton thus far is seen to be one of those regional hubs. We are going to be affected, there are no two ways about this, but hopefully we will be able to weather it, possibly better than other places.”

However, the new rules faced a backlash from many restaurant owners and publicans in Brighton.

Tony Ford, landlord of the Brighton Tavern in Gloucester Road, told The Argus that measures outlined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson were “a slap in the face”.

The restrictions mean bars and restaurants now have to close by 10pm, just months after they were given the go-ahead to reopen.

The Argus:

Businesses now also face a fine of up to £10,000 if they take reservations of more than six people, do not enforce social distancing or do not take customers’ contact details.

Mr Stewart said he understands why members of the industry are frustrated by the measures.

He said: “Businesses within the licensing and hospitality trade are struggling to understand the logic of the 10 o’clock curfew.

“A lot of businesses are already committed to non-vertical drinking and having table service already.

The Argus:

“If everyone has to leave a 10 o’clock at night, they will be leaving places that are relatively safe to be outside together communally.

“I think businesses are thinking it isn’t going to help Covid but will give us a financial hit.”