BBPA urges Government to stick to roadmap as it launches 'Countdown to Freedom' campaign

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

BBPA urges Government to stick to roadmap as it launches 'Countdown to Freedom' campaign 21 June lockdown easing

Related tags: Coronavirus, lockdown, Bbpa

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has launched a campaign urging the Government to remove all remaining Covid restrictions on pubs and the wider hospitality sector on 21 June.

The 'Countdown to Freedom' campaign will comprise a series of news stories and social media posts using the hashtag #Countdown2Freedom, showing the damage current restrictions are having on the viability of hospitality businesses and how they threaten to impede their recovery.

Recent research published by CGA and AlixPartners revealed that one in four licensed premises in Britain have yet to reopen despite the return of inside service.

According to the BBPA, upwards of 2,000 pubs are still closed, unable to reopen under the current restrictions in place because they are too small to do social distancing or table service only.

As more and more individuals across the UK receive their vaccination, the trade body says all restrictions must be removed in pubs on 21 June if safe to do so.

“Despite 95% of pubs reopening, the heavy restrictions they still face are hampering trade and viability," says Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA.

"It’s time for the restrictions on our freedoms to be replaced by the protection of the vaccination and for businesses to get back to trading as normal.

“The time is ticking on the Government to stick to its roadmap and remove all restrictions on 21 June."

There's growing concern that the planned lifting of all Coronavirus restrictions on 21 June will be delayed as a result of the growing number of Covid-19 cases linked to the so-called Indian variant.

Fellow trade body UKHospitality has warned that a delay to the roadmap would have a 'devastating effect' on an already fragile hospitality sector.

"The latest market data shows a quarter of hospitality venues are still shut and those that are open cannot turn a profit because of the current restrictions – a delay would push many businesses closer to the cliff edge of failure, meaning more job losses," says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality.

“Should the timings slip and restrictions remain beyond 21 June, it’s vital that further financial support from the Government is forthcoming, including business rates payments being postponed until at least October, and an extension of the rent moratorium while a long-term solution is found, as well as permanent lowering of VAT on hospitality goods and services.

"Businesses need a swift, publicly stated commitment that such support will be in place in the event of a delay, giving them much-needed reassurance after more than 15 months of closure and severely disrupted trading.”

Publicans, hospitality operators and interest groups ranging from consumer bodies to trade associations are all encouraged to get involved in the 'Countdown to Freedom' campaign.

This will be done by supplying a range of social media assets available for everyone to use to promote the campaign through their own social channels and website, showing their support and the desire of the hospitality sector as a whole to fully reopen without restrictions.

Anyone wanting to learn more about the campaign and request support materials should get in contact with the BBPA via https://beerandpub.com/contact-us/​.

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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