Trade bodies UKHospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association and the British Institute of Innkeeping have together stated their “outrage” at the threat of more impositions on their pub businesses when they reopen over the coming weeks and months.
Despite the ‘cautious’ approach to restarting the economy the industry had been relieved to hear that all restrictions would be removed by June the 21st. However, it now seems that the hospitality industry there could be burdened with vaccine passports, over-complicated test & trace rules only being able to take payments indoors “as a last resort” at reopening, which the organisations have described as “a triple whammy for hard-pressed publicans who’ve been forcibly closed for months”.
The review into Covid Status Certification, led by Michael Gove, looks likely to recommend that pubs and other hospitality venues must demand proof of immunity from people entering the premises before allowing them entry, with the threat of fines for non-compliant venues.
“This could prevent millions of young people visiting the pub for months unless they get themselves tested in advance,” the organisations stated.
The UK Government has also announced that all customers will need to sign-in to the pub on entry rather than just one member of the group as was previously the case. This will add more confusion and inconvenience for customers and staff, state the hospitality bodies.
In reopening on April 12th for outdoor services only, the Government has announced that it will now allow payment at the bar, but only as a last resort. Otherwise, this would have meant that customers returning to their local would have been unable to make payment in outdoor spaces. This would have been an even bigger problem for rural pubs with poor connectivity levels. In contrast to this, the UK government considers it safe to take payment inside in all shops and non-licensed cafés and other such venues.
“Government has promised the country that we will be reopening but we are now being told that this will be with our hands tied behind our backs,” the pub representatives said in a joint statement, “Pubs will already be trading at a loss when they reopen with all the existing restrictions and Covid-secure measures in place. Adding further disproportionate and discriminatory measures threatens the very survival of thousands of businesses. It’s unfair to single-out our sector again with these added impractical burdens that will have economic consequences and risk our recovery.
“We want to trade our way back to prosperity, not rely on state handouts, but if Government insists on restricting our ability to trade then they will need to stump up more business support. We need to see a further extension of the business rates holiday through to October and more furlough support to save the millions of jobs we support.”