UK pubs will be amongst the hardest hit by coronavirus
The hospitality industry is worth close to £100 billion to the UK economy but with coronavirus lockdown, thousands could face going out of business.
Bank Holidays usually mean big business for the UK’s pubs and bars as people make the most of the long weekend to go out and socialise with friends and family. However this year things are very different and it is feared that missing these crucial days of business will contribute to the ongoing issues in the hospitality industry.
OnTrade Progress, a trade magazine for the hospitality sector, found that the average pub can expect to see an increase in sales by at least 15% during Bank Holiday weekends and even more during sunny weather. With temperatures in London expected to reach 24°C this weekend pub landlords will be missing out on a bumper weekend.
The May Bank Holiday in particular offers a vital cash injection after what is usually the quietest time of the year from January to March. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) had previously estimated that 50 million pints of beer will go to waste if lockdown continues into the summer.
Coronavirus disastrous for thousands of pubs
Despite some speculation that pub gardens may be allowed to open in the near future the government has denied that any major changes to the social distancing restrictions are imminent.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce his “road map” for easing lockdown on Sunday evening and those in the hospitality sector will be watching closely. A study by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) found that 40% of pubs will not survive past September without government help if the lockdown continues. Of Britain’s 47,000 pubs, that could mean an enormous 18,800 will go out of business.
This could also have a catastrophic effect on employment figures with 320,000 pub jobs likely to be lost as a result.
A petition to the UK parliament, which has already garnered over 20,000 signatures, has called for the government to “Cut beer duty for at least 12 months, so pubs can survive after the Covid-19 virus”. Reducing the tax paid on beer would make it cheaper for businesses to purchase and allow them to lower their prices, helping to encourage people back to pubs.
In response to that petition a government statement pointed to the “unprecedented package of support for individuals and businesses to mitigate the economic impacts of Covid-19, which will directly benefit the pubs sector”.
A total of £330 billion worth of support has so far been promised to help public services, individuals and businesses through the economic disruption caused by the pandemic.
However many are worried that there is not enough being done to directly support the hospitality sector, with one pub landlord from Northampton calling on Boris Johnson to do more. "We are in limbo”, said Paul Tyrrell, from The Wheatsheaf in Dallington. “You constantly say our industry will be one of the last to reopen but offer no support for this, you extend lockdown but not your support for us. Support us or lose us. We are your country's economy. Without us you have no tourism, you have no christenings, no weddings, no wakes. We are the people you turn to in times of celebration in times of need we have always been here and want to continue to be here.”