With only 3 pubs left open in the UK thanks to COVID-19, Boris Johnson delivered a death-blow to many craft breweries hanging on by a tenuous thread…
Here’s the deal…
With COVID-19 numbers continuing to rise in the UK, PM Boris Johnson has announced new measures which will see the whole of England move into alert level five, the most critical stage of the country’s defensive tier system, which mandates further lockdown regulations.
As part of these increased regulations, alcohol can only be sold by home delivery, meaning takeaway as well as click-and-collect services, which allowed consumers to purchase online and pick up their beer at designated locations, that had previously been permitted, will now be banned through February.
The news was met with anger by many members of the hospitality sector, who believe they have been unfairly targeted, especially since non-essential retail outlets, such as clothing and homeware stores, are still being allowed to operate click-and-collect and delivery services.
Chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), James Calder expressed understandable frustration….
“This is simply the next blow after months of struggle for England’s community pubs and small breweries. For the first time in lockdown the government intends to ban takeaway alcohol sales which have been a lifeline to these small businesses.”
“Sales through takeaway, click and collect and drive through have enabled many to just about survive up to now. This reversal in policy directly discriminates against small businesses while allowing supermarkets to continue to sell beer from global breweries.”
“To ease increased economic pressure on the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors across the UK, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that businesses are eligible to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000, according to the Drinks Business. “A £594 million discretionary fund has also been made available to support other impacted businesses, including suppliers to the hospitality sector.”
UK Hospitality Chief Executive, Kate Nicholls, welcomed the Chancellor’s actions, but stressed that more is needed to ensure hospitality industry survives this devastating pandemic..
“Make no mistake that this is only a sticking plaster for immediate ills – it is not enough to even cover the costs of many businesses and certainly will not underpin longer-term business viability for our sector.”
Most of Scotland is also now under a ‘stay at home’ order, which will be reviewed at the end of this month. Wales has been in a national lockdown since late December is expected to review its mandates on January 8. And Northern Ireland which entered a six-week lockdown on December 26 is planning to put its ‘stay at home’ requirements into law.