CAMRA national chairman Nik Antona said that the forced lockdown of the nation’s pubs could have a “devastating impact” on the industry, with estimates that up to 40% of the nation’s pubs will close their doors for good.
The news comes as the organisation responded to the government’s announcement that a ministerial taskforce will be set up by the Department for Business to plan for re-opening pubs and restaurants safely.
Antona said it is therefore “imperative that pubs can open as soon as it is safe to do so.”
He said: “Having an open space where you can mingle at the bar and order drinks is an essential part of the pub-going experience as it gives visitors a chance to make friends and socialise in a common area that they don’t find in cafes or restaurants.
“I’d be very concerned if this intrinsic pub characteristic is removed and rationing introduced in the name of safety and it then becomes the norm in the months and years to come, forever changing the heart of our pubs.”
He added: “Furthermore, many pubs will be unable to re-open with social distancing measures in place and could be left behind as the situation moves forward.
“It is imperative that the government introduces a support package for pubs to see them through reopening and the transition period after, in recognition that it will take many months for businesses to recover fully.”