The majority of UK pub owners believe the country’s continued social distancing restrictions are “crushing” the future of their businesses, according to a recent survey conducted by the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII).
With current trading restrictions, 74% of publicans are trading at less than 75% compared to 2019 figures, resulting in loss-making and breaking even at best, which is not sustainable in the long run, according to the BII.
Furthermore, it found that staffing continues to be a problem for pubs in the country, with 53% reporting they cannot recruit enough staff to be fully functional, whilst 35% revealed they have lost staff as soon as they have returned from the furlough scheme.
Nearly 50% of pubs surveyed have Covid-related debts totalling over £20k, with half of these debts being between £40,000-80,000.
Steven Alton, CEO of the BII, said: “Whilst it has been fantastic to see many of our nations’ pubs reopening after months of closures, our members and their teams are exhausted as they try to rebuild their businesses, keep staff and customers safe, and adhere to all of the extensive restrictions, specifically placed on their venues.
“Without the full lifting of restrictions on 21st June, especially table service and social distancing, which render the majority of our members unprofitable, these viable businesses face at the very least an uncertain future, filled with years of debt repayments, and at worst, immediate business failure.”
He added: “We have taken our members’ voices to the heart of Government throughout the course of the pandemic, specifically highlighting the significant role they play in the economy, through employment and support of their local communities across the UK.
“Without real certainty of trading once again, free of restrictions, the vital role they are able to play at the heart of our nations’ recovery is in jeopardy. We are calling on the government to now deliver against its roadmap, allowing our pubs to begin their long road to recovery, before it’s too late.”