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10th December 2020

Pub sales down 84% on first weekend of re-opening, as new tier restrictions knock the stuffing out of Christmas trade

BBPA survey suggests more than half of pub operators expect to close pubs that re-opened if trade doesn’t pick-up in coming weeks

The British Beer & Pub Association, the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, has today revealed that overall sales across all pubs in the UK this weekend were 84% lower than last year (1).

The trade association said the stark number showed how much of an impact the new, tighter tier restrictions are having on pubs’ ability to operate as viable businesses this Christmas.

In the same survey of its members, the BBPA also found that just 4 in 10 pubs opened across the UK this weekend. And that due to the low levels of trade they experienced, just over half of pub operators (53%) already now expect to close more pubs in the coming weeks.

The BBPA is now urging the Government to re-think its approach to the tier restrictions placed on pubs, or provide them with the financial support they need to ensure they survive the winter and return to trade as the economy opens up with the rollout of the vaccine in the coming months.

It is also urging pub goers to still visit their local this Christmas, reassuring customers that pubs are safe to visit over the festive break.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: 

“These numbers illustrate the perilous situation our pubs find themselves in this Christmas. The tier restrictions that have been unfairly placed on our pubs are killing them. This must change, or thousands of pubs simply won’t survive.

“How else can the Government expect our pubs to survive if they cannot open or operate properly? It is cruel and unfair on hardworking publicans up and down the country who have more than played their part in fighting the virus.

“Christmas should be a time where we can enjoy one another’s company in the pub round a warm fire and with a fresh pint in hand. Christmas sadly just won’t be the same this year without our pubs being able to open properly. The new restrictions are knocking the stuffing out of our Christmas trade. It truly is madness when you consider cinemas, theatres and sports venues can still open and serve alcohol.

“It’s simple. Either the Government reduces these extreme restrictions, so pubs have a fighting chance of survival, or they recognise the damage they are doing to our pubs and provide them with the proper level of grants they need.

“Our pubs have invested over £500 million in becoming COVID-secure and are safe. Pub goers visiting their local this Christmas are safe.”


Notes to editors

(1) Based on BBPA survey of members conducted this week. Number reflects the impact of pubs that remain closed as well as those who are open but facing severe restrictions. In pubs that have opened (tiers 1 and some in tier 2) but face severe restrictions (tier 2) business was down, on average, by 62% compared to the same weekend last year. Taken together with those pubs who did not open or could not open legally, the overall sector trade was down 84% compared to the same weekend last year.

Press release from BBPA

For more information, contact Nick Lawrie []