The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, has today welcomed confirmation by the Government that pubs will be allowed to reopen outdoors only from 12 April, as indicated as the earliest date they could do so in the Governments roadmap.
The BBPA said that whilst the news was exciting for publicans and pub goers a like, it was important to remember that just 40% of pubs in England – 15,000 – would be opening for outdoors service from the 12th, making it all the more important that the Government sticks to its roadmap dates to ensure pubs can reopen indoors from 17 May, and without any restrictions from 21 June, so they can all reopen and begin their recovery.
It reiterated that those opening from 12th April will almost certainly be making a loss, but are desperate to welcome back their customers and serve their local communities.
The trade association, alongside other industry bodies, has stated its concerns and frustration over the Government’s handling of the reopening of pubs. In particular, they are concerned over suggestions of vaccine passports for entry to premises, as well as changes to guidelines on how pubs operate including not being able to pay at the bar, which they feel is grossly unfair as cafés and non-essential retail are not under the same restrictions.
Emma McClarkin, BBPA's Chief Executive, (pictured), said, “We welcome the great news that our pubs can reopen once more for outdoor service from April 12th. That first pint back in the beer garden is going to be a special moment. People across the country have been looking forward to it for months.
“We expect 40% of pubs, some 15,000 in England, to reopen from April 12th. Those that do open have invested a lot in ensuring customers are both comfortable and safe, making the most of the pub beer garden. We should remember though that those re-opening will likely be loss making.
“With so many pubs still not opening though, it’s crucial the Government sticks to its roadmap and allows pubs to reopen indoors from May 17th and without any restrictions at all from June 21st. That is the only way our pubs can trade viably and begin to fully recover.'
McClarkin closed, “We continue to have deep concerns over the Governments proposals around vaccine passports and changes to guidelines on how pubs will operate once they reopen. Not allowing customers to pay at the bar for food or drink in pubs, but allowing it in cafés or shops, is completely unfair and illogical.”