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Confusion reigns for pubs restart - call to end the dithering


  • Pubs and brewers need certainty from Government to make decision to release staff from furlough and invest in pubs and brewing for reopening

  • Trade body says any further delay from Government to provide a definitive date for reopening will mean pubs won’t be able to reopen on 4th July

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the leading trade association representing Britain’s brewers and pubs, has today demanded the UK Government give a clear date for when pubs can reopen. The trade association says the UK Government must give a clear, definitive date for when pubs can reopen to give the sector the confidence and certainty it needs to get ready for reopening. This includes releasing staff from furlough, agreeing the significant investment required in pubs to ensure they can reopen with new safety protocols in place and getting the brewing of draught beer underway again and delivered to pubs in time. The trade association also says the Government’s guidance for pubs when they reopen needs to be published now, so they can begin their preparations in order to be ready to open for the Government’s confirmed date. Without an immediate announcement of a definitive date for reopening and the issue of the promised final safety guidelines today, the BBPA said thousands of Britain’s pubs, despite their best efforts, wouldn’t be able to reopen. The trade association has always said the sector needed a minimum of three weeks’ notice to get ready for reopening. As the Government didn’t announce on 13th June if pubs will be able to reopen on 4th July as originally indicated in its roadmap for economic recovery, many beer and pub industry businesses have had to gamble and start getting ready now should pubs reopen from 4th July. This includes a number of the UK’s world famous brewers, who have already started brewing cask and keg beer for pubs again, which takes a minimum of three weeks to do. However, the overwhelming majority of Britain’s brewers and pubs cannot take such a gamble, hence the urgent need for a confirmed date for reopening and guidance now. Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Our 47,000 pubs and 2,000 brewers are now in urgent need of a definitive date on when pubs can reopen. We have consistently and clearly asked Government for at least three weeks’ notice to ensure our pubs can bring staff out of furlough, prepare and reconfigure themselves to adhere to safety guidelines, and ensure they have fresh draught beer ready to serve customers. The deadline for notice the Government needed to give us to be ready to reopen on 4th July, as referenced in its own roadmap, passed on Saturday. As of today we have no finalised safety guidelines and no definitive date for reopening – we need both today if pubs are to reopen on 4th July.” Simon Emeny, Chief Executive of pubs and hotels business Fuller’s, said: “To ensure our pubs can reopen on 4th July I have to decide by Wednesday morning whether we bring staff back from furlough and invest in the new safety protocols our pubs require to reopen safely in early July. Without immediate and definitive confirmation from Government that they will allow pubs to reopen then, I cannot make this decision. This will delay investment, delay bringing our staff back to work to help plan our reopening, increase the costs for Government and inevitably will mean that our pubs will not be able to reopen.” Kevin Georgel, Chief Executive of St Austell Brewery, said: “Like many other breweries we have been forced to take a significant gamble and start brewing draught beer again to ensure that pubs can reopen on 4th July as per the Government roadmap. Cask Ale on average takes three weeks to brew and lager can often take longer. In order for pubs to be able to serve a pint of fresh draught beer that customers have longed for during lockdown, we had to start brewing last week. If pubs do not now open on 4th July, all of this beer will be lost at huge cost to us during this time of survival. It will join the 70 million pints that were wasted when pubs were forced to close in March. The Government cannot allow this to happen again, we need confirmation immediately that pubs can reopen on 4th July.”

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