Trade Association: CCP Virus Restrictions Will Ruin 30,000 Pubs Unless Government Steps In

November 27, 2020 Updated: November 27, 2020

Around 30,000 pubs in England will stay closed or be made non-viable under new toughened tiering restrictions to be enacted when the current national lockdown to slow the spread of the CCP virus ends on Dec. 2.

Trade association the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) raised concerns in a statement on Thursday that unless the government steps in to support the sector, new Tier 2 and 3 restrictions coming in will have a “devastating impact on over 30,000 pubs—four in five pubs in England.”

The BBPA said that over 16,000 pubs will be in Tier 3 and so be forced to close altogether under the restrictions.

Pub Scotland
A member of staff closes a door of The Beehive pub in the Grassmarket following last orders at 6 p.m., in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Oct. 9, 2020. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Also, almost 14,000 pubs in Tier 2 areas won’t re-open after the lockdown, the BBPA said, because they don’t serve substantial meals or won’t withstand the financial onslaught of additional restrictions like no households mixing and no alcohol unless with meals.

The BBPA says that government support for the afflicted pubs is inadequate.

“At present, grants for pubs are as low as £1,300 [$1,733] a month—not even enough to cover basic fixed costs. … [M]any will be forced to close unless the government changes its approach, or provides them with the level of grants they need like it did during the first lockdown,” the group’s statement reads.

The BBPA sent a letter to Boris Johnson on Thursday from over 50 pub and brewing businesses. It said the businesses that “employ hundreds of thousands of people and contribute billions of pounds of economic value to the UK economy” are being scapegoated and would not survive.

“The pub is clearly being singled out for exceptionally harsh and unjustified treatment and unless your government changes course, and soon, huge portions of this most British of institutions will simply not be there come the Spring,” the letter stated.

“It is clear that pubs are being scapegoated despite a lack of available evidence that they are any more responsible for outbreaks than other types of venue.”

Labour MP Charlotte Nichols, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pubs, also raised concerns in a letter to the Secretary of State Matt Hancock on Wednesday, which was posted on Twitter.

She wrote that the impending restrictions on pubs will come “on top of the enormous financial hit that the hospitality industry has already suffered in 2020.”

She said the sector had taken seriously making their businesses safe and “spent significant sums of money—thousands of pounds—to protect their customers notwithstanding their reduced income.”

Nichols said restrictions on pubs, however, were harsher than those for retail and gyms, and were “only justifiable if scientifically necessary.” She called on Hancock to “fully publish the relevant evidence.”

She also said 72 percent of hospitality businesses expected to fail next year, highlighting a clear case for a special support package for the sector.

The warnings over the fragility of pubs going into the next round of restrictions come following persistent economic worries from the hospitality sector amid the ongoing CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.

One in three hospitality businesses in the UK had no or low confidence that they will survive the following three months, according to official survey data for the period between Oct. 19 and Nov. 1.

Neither the Prime Minister’s Office nor the Secretary of State’s office had responded to a request for comment at the time of this report.

Lily Zhou contributed to this report.