Saturday, 15 Aug 2020

Coronavirus: Cheers! 1.5m extra pub-goers expected this weekend

Britons are expected to spend £210m in pubs when they reopen in England this weekend.

Research predicts that more than a third of adults in the UK plan to visit a pub in the first week of trading after bars were closed in March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said it expects around 6.5 million pub trips across Saturday and Sunday, which is around 1.5 million more visits than a typical July weekend.

Despite the easing of lockdown restrictions, drinkers will still face a far different pub experience due to a large number of government safety measures designed to minimise the risk of fresh COVID-19 outbreaks.

Pubs must take the contact details of all of their customers, which must be held for 21 days to enable people to be traced if there is a reported case of coronavirus.

Customers must abide by social distancing rules and will not be allowed to drink at the bar – orders must be taken at tables or via mobile apps.

And pub-goers will only be allowed to gather in groups of up to six people, involving a maximum of two households.

The CEBR said its research found that many Britons “remain cautious” over a return to bars and pubs, which are currently only able to serve takeaway beer and food.

The return of hospitality venues trading this weekend is expected to boost consumer spending by 32%.

The CEBR report added: “The longer-term outlook for the pub industry may not be so rosy, however.

“Many within the wider hospitality industry had warned that the need for two-metre social distancing rendered a majority of businesses unviable.

“Though the replacement of this rule with a new “one-metre plus” recommendation means that many more pubs will now be able to return to operation, it still represents a considerable restriction for others.”

The CEBR said it estimates that average profits for those pubs which do trade will be around 46% of pre-pandemic levels.

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