Seven out of 10 UK pubs and restaurants fear they will become financially unviable and forced to close next year as a result of damaging Covid-19 restrictions, a new poll has revealed.
The main trade bodies representing the beleaguered sector – the British Beer and Pub Association, the British Institute of Innkeeping and UKHospitality – said the new findings revealed that 72% of members expected to operate at a loss and to be unable to survive because of the collapse in trade.
They are pleading for more generous government grants and “fine-tuning” of tier restrictions to save thousands of businesses – which may never reopen otherwise – and hundreds of thousands of jobs.
The survey, based on a poll of 446 UK businesses representing more than 20,000 venues, found the tiering system used across England before the latest countrywide lockdown was particularly damaging to pubs and hospitality businesses.
The trade bodies called on the government to relax a ban on household mixing, alongside a modest extension to the 10pm curfew, if the English lockdown is lifted next month.
The bodies warned that without greater government support, by February 2021 there would be 750,000 fewer jobs in the sector compared with earlier this year.
A joint spokesperson for the three organisations said: “The evidence is here to see of the devastating, long-term impact the government’s restrictions are having.
“We recognise that local restrictions will need to be based on local risk levels, but to ensure our sector can bring people together properly this Christmas and beyond, the tier system should be fine-tuned.”
Separately, the Campaign for Real Ale has called on the government to let all pubs in England trade in December, after new YouGov research found that the majority of pubgoers believed that pubs and other hospitality venues offered a Covid-secure environment.