Pubs Reopening From 4th July Is A Welcome First Step On Long Road To Recovery

Beer and pub sector welcomes a definitive date for reopening of pubs and decision to adopt one metre plus for social distancing

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has welcomed confirmation from Government that all pubs will be able to reopen from 4th July.

Following a campaign by the trade association, the Government has also announced today that it will adopt the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended one metre social distancing guideline used in many countries across the world, along with other mitigation measures in place.

The BBPA had been urging the Government to provide a clear date for when pubs can reopen along with the publication of guidance so pubs could plan with certainty and clarity for reopening safely. It had said that reducing social distancing for pubs from two metres to one metre would enable 75% of pubs in England  – 28,000 in total – to re-open. Under two metre social distancing rules, only a third of England’s pubs – 12,500 – would have been able to re-open.

The BBPA said the clear and definitive reopening date was a much needed boost to Britain’s beer and pub sector, giving it the certainty and confidence it needed. Although reopening on 4th July as confirmed today will not give the sector the three weeks’ notice it said it needed for reopening, some pubs and breweries had already begun its preparations for reopening – developing plans to ensure the safety of pub customers and staff and brewing fresh draught beer for pubs – which will allow a good number of pubs to be ready on 4th July.

The trade association said that it awaits the publication of guidance for its sector. It said it would be advising its members on how they will follow guidance once published. The trade association reiterated that as an industry brewers and pubs will do everything they can to ensure the safety of their customers and staff and deliver the great pub experience.

The trade association has significant concerns over the collection and storage of personal customer data, but said it will work with Government to develop a practical way to help for the purposes of track and trace.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:

“It’s great to know our pubs will be able to reopen on 4th July. This is an important step for us but it is just the first step on what will be a very a long road to recovery for our sector.

“Whilst the Government hasn’t given us the three weeks minimum notice we asked for to get our pubs ready for reopening, thankfully as an industry we already started our preparations to ensure our pubs were ready to open when we were given the green light.

“It’s great to see the Government adopt the WHO guidance and the examples of many other countries across the world who’ve safely reopened their hospitality sectors using one metre as their safe social distance measure.

“This will enable many more pubs to begin to get back on their feet and will help save thousands of pubs and jobs. We estimate that this decision will enable up to 28,000 pubs to open. It allows pubs more space to operate in, which is a big help from a viability perspective too. I also urge Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to adopt the one metre guidelines to ensure consistency and ease of implementation across all pubs in the UK. We also look forward to hearing from each of them as soon as possible on the definitive dates for when pubs can open in each location.

“We now await the publication of Government guidance for our sector. As an industry we will be doing everything we can to ensure both our customers and staff are safe in our pubs.

“We do have significant concerns over the collection and storage of personal customer data when visiting the pub. We welcome the Prime Minister’s pledge to work with the sector to make this manageable as it poses significant logistical challenges. We will work with Government on how we could help collect data for track and trace purposes.”

Nick Mackenzie, Greene King CEO said: “It is great that we finally have the news we’ve all been waiting for; a confirmed opening date for pubs and a change to social distancing from two metres to one. It is a welcome relief for pub operators, our team members who want to get back to work and of course our customers who have been missing their local pub. We now urgently need the detailed government guidelines so that we can check we have the correct measures in place to reopen safely for our team members and customers.”

BII CEO, Steven Alton commented: “Whilst today’s news has been welcomed, this is just the beginning of the next phase for our members. 1 in 10 pubs are still not able to open their doors until any restriction on distance is removed. Of those that can open, the majority will be trading at a loss for many months.

With the 4th of July a short time away, pubs have significant challenges ahead, including; providing table service where possible, the requirement of collection of data from visitors to pubs, the costs of bringing back teams from furlough, restocking cellars and physical changes to the layout of their pubs to allow for the 1m distance. All of these factors will require investment at a time where pubs have had no income for over 3 months and will be trading at a loss for the foreseeable future.

Ongoing business support will be critical and we have called on the Chancellor for the following; full furlough until October, additional grants including lifting of the barrier of £51k RV to allow grants for all, access to an extended bounce back loan and an extension to the business rates holiday until April 2022.”