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Beer and pub sector demands a ‘definitive date’ for reopening

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has demanded the UK government give a “clear date” for when pubs can reopen.

The trade association said the UK government must give a “clear, definitive date” for when pubs can reopen to give the sector the confidence and certainty it needs to get ready for reopening. 

This includes releasing staff from furlough, agreeing the significant investment required in pubs to ensure they can reopen with new safety protocols in place and getting the brewing of draught beer underway again and delivered to pubs in time.

The BBPA added that the government’s guidance for pubs when they reopen needs to be published now, so they can begin their preparations in order to be ready to open for the government’s confirmed date.

It said without an immediate announcement of a definitive date for reopening and the issue of the promised final safety guidelines today, the BBPA said thousands of Britain’s pubs, despite their best efforts, wouldn’t be able to reopen.

The trade association added that the sector needed a minimum of three weeks’ notice to get ready for reopening.

Emma McClarkin, CEO of the BBPA, said over 47,000 pubs and 2,000 brewers are now in “urgent need” of a definitive date on when pubs can reopen. 

She said: “We have consistently and clearly asked the government for at least three weeks’ notice to ensure our pubs can bring staff out of furlough, prepare and reconfigure themselves to adhere to safety guidelines, and ensure they have fresh draught beer ready to serve customers.

“The deadline for notice the government needed to give us to be ready to reopen on 4th July, as referenced in its own roadmap, passed on Saturday. As of today we have no finalised safety guidelines and no definitive date for reopening – we need both today if pubs are to reopen on 4 July.”

Simon Emeny, CEO of pubs and hotels business Fuller’s, added: “To ensure our pubs can reopen on 4 July I have to decide by Wednesday morning whether we bring staff back from furlough and invest in the new safety protocols our pubs require to reopen safely in early July. 

“Without immediate and definitive confirmation from the government that they will allow pubs to reopen then, I cannot make this decision. This will delay investment, delay bringing our staff back to work to help plan our reopening, increase the costs for Government and inevitably will mean that our pubs will not be able to reopen.”

Kevin Georgel, CEO of St Austell Brewery, concluded: “Like many other breweries we have been forced to take a significant gamble and start brewing draught beer again to ensure that pubs can reopen on 4 July as per the government roadmap. 

“If pubs do not now open on 4 July, all of this beer will be lost at huge cost to us during this time of survival. It will join the 70 million pints that were wasted when pubs were forced to close in March. The government cannot allow this to happen again, we need confirmation immediately that pubs can reopen on 4 July.”

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