Pubs Will Be Calling ‘Mayday’ If They Cannot Reopen Until May

BBPA says far more financial support from Government will be needed if pubs are not to open until May

The British Beer & Pub Association has today responded to speculation that pubs may be forced to stay closed until May. Downing Street is reportedly considering keeping the lockdown in place until late March according to The Sunday Times, however speculation has mounted that pubs and restaurants maybe forced to stay shut for even longer. A source told the paper: ‘The May Day bank holiday is more likely the moment you see pubs reopening.’

The trade association has said pubs across the UK will be lost for good if they cannot reopen until May 2021 and do not get extended financial support from Government.

The trade association has also said the Government needs to be clear on its roadmap for the reopening of pubs.

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

“We really hope that the speculation about pubs being forced to stay closed until May is not true. We strongly believe that pubs are safe places to socialise and can play an important role in our social and economic recovery.

“If pubs are forced to stay close until May, it would mean they have faced 14 months of lockdowns and restrictions. How on earth could the Government expect them to survive?

“UK pubs will be screaming ‘mayday’ long before a May reopening without significantly more financial support from Government.

“Sadly, these rumours are another example of the unfair targeting of pubs and have no thought for hardworking publicans and communities across the country who fear the loss of their homes, livelihoods and heart of their communities.

“The Government has a duty to tell publicans when it plans to let them reopen with a clear roadmap alongside the vaccination programme. If it won’t be until May then it needs to extend financial support for them to survive and to brewers whose businesses also face jeopardy.

“In the more immediate future this means an extension to the Chancellor’s latest grant support package and not just for pubs, but also breweries. In the longer term it means extensions to the Business Rates holiday and VAT cut, as well as a beer duty cut throughout 2021 and beyond.

“Without such support, local pubs in communities across the country will be lost forever. We hope though that we can open safely and serve our customers and communities as soon as possible.”