Coronavirus

29,000 pubs will stay closed if outdoor service is allowed, warns BBPA

Just 17% of UK pub capacity, both indoor and outdoor, would be opened

The British Beer and Pub Association has warned that it believes 29,000 pubs – 60% of all pubs in the UK – will still remain closed if just outdoor service is permitted at pubs from April.

The figure comes as speculation suggests the government is considering allowing outdoor service in hospitality venues from April.

However, the BBPA said that as this is “unfeasible for the majority of pubs” and that pubs should be allowed to re-open fully, outside and inside, when non-essential retail also opens.

It added around 75% of UK pubs have a beer garden or outdoor space, but that only 40% of pubs are likely to have a beer garden or outdoor space big enough. Even then, if many with big enough outdoor spaces did open, they could still struggle to break even as they would still have “vastly reduced capacity and significant practical challenges “such as the April weather to deal with.

It argued this would mean that if pubs did open outdoors only in April, just 17% of UK pub capacity, both indoor and outdoor, would be opened.

It predicts this would result in a loss of turnover to the sector of £1.5bn when compared to trading in normal times. Because of this, the BBPA said the Government would need to continue grant support to all those pubs unable to open at all or who can partially open, but with vastly reduced trade.

Emma McClarkin, BBPA CEO said: “Let us be clear, outdoor service at pubs is not the same as properly opening pubs both inside and outside and is not commercially viable.By our numbers, 29,000 pubs would still be forced to stay shut in April because they simply do not have the beer garden or outdoor space to do it.

“If pubs do open outdoors only in April – we believe just 17% of UK pub capacity will actually open. This would result in a loss of turnover to the sector of £1.5bn when compared to trading in normal times. That is far from reopening and recovering.”

She added: “Even if some pubs did try and open outdoors only in April, all it would take is some heavy rain and they would find it has all been for nothing.For many pubs, gardens are at the back and the only way to access them is through the inside. And of course, toilet facilities would still need to be provided.

“We urge the Government to open our pubs inside – and outside – when non-essential retail also opens. By then, the vaccine will have been rolled out to millions more, and pubs can open whilst continuing to follow exemplary hygiene measures, world leading standards in guidance and social distancing.”

Back to top button