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7th June 2021

Pub sector down by 20% due to restrictions and social distancing

BBPA urges removal of restrictions in countdown to freedom for June 21st

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has today revealed that pubs traded 20% lower in their first week of reopening indoors than the same period before the pandemic.

The trade association said the 20% fall in trade was because of restrictions and social distancing measures pubs are having to implement, which are making them unviable as businesses.

In a survey of its members, which own 20,000 of the UK’s pubs and supply many thousands more, the BBPA found that turnover for the pub sector in the UK as a whole for the week of May 17th was at 80% of the same period in 2019, despite 95% of UK pubs (some 45,000) reopening to trade.

The average pub in the UK turns over approximately £470,000 per year, meaning if trade continues to stay at 80% of normal, the average pub would lose £94,000 in turnover over a year. With the average pint costing £3.81 in the UK, it would mean the average pub would need to sell 24,672 more pints over a year to make up that loss in turnover.

Currently, pubs are required to ensure 1 metre plus social distancing is in place, operate by table service only and ensure that face masks are worn other than when sat at a table inside or if outdoors. Group sizes are also limited indoors to just six people and bar or standing drinking is not permitted.

As more and more individuals across the UK receive their vaccination, the BBPA is urging the Government to remove all restrictions in pubs on June 21st. It says this is needed because the damage the restrictions are having on the viability of pubs, brewers and hospitality businesses are impeding their recovery and threatening their very survival.

The trade association has launched its “Countdown to Freedom” campaign urging the Government to remove restrictions on pubs and the wider hospitality sector on June 21st. The campaign will continue to highlight to Government the cost and impact the remaining restrictions continue to have on the sector and remind the Government of its commitment to remove the restrictions on June 21st if its four tests for the removal of restrictions are met.

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

“Our sector only turned over 80% of normal during the first week of indoor opening compared to before COVID-19 because of the restrictions it still faces. On average, each pub is trading 20% down on normal when you compare the week of May 17th 2021 to the same period in 2019.

“Pubs trade on incredibly small margins, so being 20% down on normal times is huge and incredibly concerning. Over a year, it would equate to £94,000 in lost turnover. To make that lost turnover up, the average pub would need to sell 24,672 more pints over a year.

“What is especially worrying is that there was a lot of enthusiasm to visit the pub when they first reopened indoors. When that initial enthusiasm to return to the local cools down, trade could get even worse, leaving pubs unable to get beyond break even.

“The countdown to freedom for our sector on June 21st is on. Without restrictions removed, thousands of pubs remain unviable and could still be lost forever despite being back open for now.

“As more and more individuals receive their vaccination, if the Government’s four tests for the removal of restrictions are met it must remove them on June 21st. Otherwise, more grant support is going to be essential to tie our pubs over.”


Press release from BBPA

For further information, please contact:

Josh Green, Head of Public Affairs, BBPA:, 07879003467