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Pubs pledge to continue actively helping Government manage COVID-19, but warn new restrictions will halt their recovery without further support

BBPA responds to Prime Minister’s announcement on social gathering changes and mandatory use of test and trace

The British Beer & Pub Association, the leading trade association representing brewers and pubs, has today responded to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on the changes to social gathering rules that will affect pubs.

In his speech, the Prime Minister confirmed that the maximum number of people who can gather together will reduce from thirty to six, although this will exclude single households and support bubbles consisting already of more than six people and some exclusions.

The Prime Minister also announced the mandatory use of test and trace by hospitality businesses.

Responding to the announcement on the changes to social gatherings, Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:

“It is understandable that the Government are concerned about the recent rise in COVID cases. This concern is recognised by our sector and we will play an active role in helping Government manage this rise in infections by continuing to adhere to the current guidelines as well as embracing the new ones.

“It is important to understand that the changes to social gatherings announced today will have an immediate cooling effect on public confidence to go out and visit our pubs. And will have a direct impact on trade that will be felt hard across an industry that is already struggling to get back on its feet. At such a delicate point in our recovery after a steady start this summer, as we head into Autumn and Winter where we expect trade to already slow down, this is very concerning.

“With the announcements made today pubs and breweries will need much more support from the Government I’d they are to survive. An extension on business rates relief, continuation of the VAT cut to food and soft drinks, a sector specific furlough extension and a significant beer duty cut are needed now. These measures, along with the welcomed compensation for businesses closed as a result of local lockdowns announced earlier today by The Treasury, will help pubs survive, protect jobs and ensure they can continue to serve our communities.

“Without this support from Government, and a clear message that pubs remain open for business and that the public should support them, our sector is in for a very rough end to an already devastating year.

“It fully remains the case that, by following the existing guidelines, pubs remain an entirely safe place for people to meet up at. To reopen every pub had to complete a risk assessment and put measures in place to ensure the safety of customers. With these measures in place, and pubs’ active participation in test and trace, pub goers can rest assured they are safe.”

In response to the mandatory participation of NHS test and trace in pubs and hospitality businesses across England, Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: 

“As one of the few sectors actively participating in test and trace, pubs have already been fully playing their part to ensure people follow the safety guidelines and contain the spread of the virus.

“Our sector will continue to play a leading role in supporting test and trace and all our members and the overwhelming majority of pubs across the UK are already using the test and trace system. In fact, pubs have been commended by Matt Hancock and Public Health England for their diligence and proactivity in working with NHS test and trace in England.

“We implore any pub not confident on if they are following the existing or new rules correctly to get in touch with us or one of the many trade associations out there who will be happy to help.

“Of course, it is important to remember that pub customers have a key role to play too in following the rules, and this means fully participating with test and trace.”

ENDS

British Beer & Pub Association

The British Beer & Pub Association is the leading body representing Britain’s brewers and pub companies. The Association is more than a century old and was originally founded as the Brewers’ Society in 1904. Our members account for some 90 per cent of beer brewed in Britain today, and own around 20,000 of the nation’s pubs.

For further information, please contact:

Nick Lawrie, Digital Communications Manager: nlawrie@beerandpub.com, 07824 359 013

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