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Pub trade body calls for clarity on beer garden reopenings

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has today told the government that it needs an “immediate” and “clear decision” on whether pubs with beer gardens can re-open from 22 June.

The news follows as ministers are reportedly targeting 22 June as the date they hope to allow pubs and restaurants to open in some form.

According to the Financial Times, the government is aiming for the date to allow pub gardens and restaurants with outdoor spaces to be among the first in hospitality to reopen.

MPs had initially outlined 4 July as the provisional date to begin reopening outdoor venues across England.

The trade association has also reiterated that even if pub beer gardens re-open from 22 June the priority must still be for all pubs to be free to reopen from 4 July as originally indicated in the government’s roadmap for the recovery of the economy.

The BBPA has called for urgent confirmation of a definitive date for when pub beer gardens will be able to re-open.

It states that pubs need a minimum of three weeks notice to get ready to re-open. Likewise, beer will need to be brewed in that time and delivered to pubs for when they re-open. 

It said if beer gardens are to open from 22 June then pubs and brewers need to know now as it “only gives them two weeks to get ready”.

The trade association estimates that there are some 27,000 pubs across the UK with beer gardens, more than half of the UK’s 47,000 pubs in total.

However, it is not immediately clear how many of those pubs with beer gardens will re-open without a definitive date, sufficient notice to plan their reopening, and the final safety guidelines, specifically a decision on the two metres versus one metre social distancing rule. 

The organisation said all of these are required immediately to allow pub beer gardens to open ahead of 4 July. 

Likewise, with such measures required to get pubs ready to reopen their beer gardens, the trade association says it would be logical to enable all pubs to be free to fully re-open from 4 July.

Emma McClarkin, CEO of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “We’ve always wanted to re-open our nation’s pubs safely and viably as soon as possible, but we urgently need a clear decision on whether we can re-open pub beer gardens early. 

“We also seek urgent confirmation from the government on a definitive date when pub beer gardens will be able to open. Regardless of whether pub beer gardens can re-open earlier, it is imperative the government enables all pubs to be free to re-open from 4 July as indicated in its roadmap.”

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