Wednesday, 28 Oct 2020

Britons set to spend THIS eye-watering amount as pubs reopen following lockdown

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After three months since the lockdown was imposed on March 23, people across the country will be able to visit bars and pubs again on July 4. But some landlords will remain closed due to staffing costs and thanks to off-sales that produce good earnings.

Experts estimated 6.5 million people will flock to pubs, compared to some five million on a typical July weekend.

Each person on average will buy an extra 2.1 pints of beer or 1.9 glasses of wine, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

It added that over a third of adults will go to a pub in the first week in spite of the current risk of catching coronavirus.

Wetherspoons announced all its 750 outlets in England will open at 8am on Saturday.

It said: “We’ve invested time and money to ensure our pubs are safe and ready for staff and customers to work and enjoy themselves.”

Chairman Tim Martin added: “We are extremely pleased that pubs are reopening after a long hiatus.”

Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of UKHospitality, welcomed the reopening, saying: “Having confirmation of the reopening date is a real boon and affords businesses some time to make the necessary preparations.

“Our sector was one of the first to be seriously affected and we are going to be one of the last to reopen. Getting venues open again, even with social distancing measures in place, is the best way to secures businesses and jobs.”

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Emma McClarkin, boss of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “After waiting so patiently, it’s fantastic news.

“Our pubs and brewers need a major boost, not just this weekend but into the summer and throughout the year.

“It’s important everyone respects the new measures to ensure everyone can enjoy the return of our pubs safely.”

James Calder, of the Society of Independent Brewers, said it has been a “scramble” for beer producers to prepare their production with just a few weeks’ notice.

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He added: “They stand ready to support our pubs so the public can enjoy a tasty pint of craft beer in a socially responsible manner.”

But the CEBR said the “one-meter plus” restriction would hinder customer numbers as well as slashing earnings, on average, to less than a half that of pre-coronavirus rates.

A spokesman added: “So long as lingering fears around the virus continue to thwart consumer confidence, even Dutch courage won’t be enough to fuel spending beyond the initial reopening.”

Greg Grundy, landlord of The Egremont pub in Worthing, West Sussex, said he might also reopen later on.

He said: “At the moment I’m making £1,000 a day selling takeaway pints through a window while paying virtually no overheads.

“If I reopen properly I’ll have to employ six to eight staff to manage social distancing and pay utility costs and rates, while seriously limiting the number of customers.”

However, data shows that pubs are closing at a slower rate, despite the ongoing crisis.

Some 228 closed down in England and Wales in the first half of this year, taking the total to 40,835. A total of 238 closed in the second half of last year.

A Government spokesman said: “Today’s figures show how the steps we have taken to support pubs through the pandemic have been helping.”

However, Chief medical adviser Patrick Vallance warned: “Don’t be fooled this means [coronavirus] has gone away.”

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