The restrictions, which were announced yesterday (14 December) and which come into force tomorrow morning, will force 1,250 pubs that remained open in tier 2 to close, worth an additional £16m to the local economy, according to the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).
In total, 56,000 sector jobs are now at risk in London alone, says the BBPA, as all of the capital’s 3,680 pubs will now be closed except for takeaway business.
“Moving into tier three is another nail in the coffin for London’s pubs, as well as those affected in parts of Hertfordshire and Essex,” says BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin.
“It could completely destroy many pubs in London and parts of Hertfordshire and Essex who have taken bookings for the lead up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve if the tiers don’t change before then.
“It is cruel on hardworking publicans doing all they can to support their communities and invest in implementing all the required safety measures. Especially as the Government’s own evidence shows pubs are safe.”
The trade association is calling for a stronger package of financial support for pubs, and also brewers across the country, stating that pubs in London and affected areas of Hertfordshire and Essex will receive support that is four times less than that offered to pubs in Wales from the Welsh Government for similar trading restrictions.
“It is not fair that pubs in London and other parts of England receive four times less financial support than pubs in Wales. Particularly as pubs in London are the most expensive to run.
“Support also needs to be made available to brewers and the wider supply chain businesses also seeing a major trade channel closed overnight.”
‘Devastating’ for pubs
The lack of Government support has been roundly criticised by pub groups, which are continuing to struggle as a result of the lockdown restrictions, and which were hoping to make some vital money in the lucrative run up to Christmas.
“Once again the government has acknowledged hospitality is bearing the brunt of new restrictions to help control the virus but with no extra support to help businesses survive,” says Nick Mackenzie, CEO at pub group Greene King
“Whilst we understand the need to manage the rate of infections, there is no getting away from the fact that moving London and other areas into Tier 3 the week before Christmas will further cripple the pub sector, which is already on its knees and impact on the livelihoods of our team members and tenants.
“Pubs in London have had an incredibly difficult time this year. Without workers and tourists, footfall has been exceptionally low, even when restrictions were lifted. Two lockdowns and a long list of restrictive policies have left the hospitality sector in dire straits.”
“This week would normally be a bumper week for pubs in the capital, instead, many will have to close their doors yet again, despite a significant amount of investment to ensure safe socialising.
“What we need from the government now is further support to help hospitality businesses get through to the spring, so that can come out the other side of this crisis and play an important role in helping the economy to bounce back.”
CAMRA has also called for support parity across the UK in order for pubs to survive the pandemic.
“Going into Tier 3 in the run up to Christmas – which is usually their busiest time of the year – is absolutely devastating news for pubs and breweries in and around the capital,” says CAMRA national vice-chair Abigail Newton,
Not being able to go to the pub this Christmas as a result of this decision will be a real blow for many Londoners. That’s why the Government needs to ensure all pubs are treated fairly in all tiers, and that they get a decent level of financial support to survive these damaging Tier 3 restrictions, which will put the future of otherwise viable pubs at risk.”