The government has once again imposed lockdown orders on in the UK, putting an end to the idea that COVID-19 was dissipating and hopes for an economic turnaround for UK brewers, bar and pub owners already on life-support.
On November 1, Prime Minister Boris Johnson initiated the country’s second national lockdown in England to prevent a “medical and moral disaster” for Britain’s National Health Service.
But what about the “economic and moral” disaster that the UK hospitality sector is already reeling from?
In a Downing Street news conference, Johnson said that he was “truly, truly sorry” for the impact on businesses, but that the furlough system paying 80% of employee wages will be extended through November.
While recognizing the severity of the COVID-19 upswing, Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, made a dour prediction as to the latest lockdown’s impact on the already struggling sector…
“Make no mistake, this could be the final straw for thousands of pubs and brewers. It will also create major disruption to our supply chain partners whose businesses are now also at severe risk.”
“The level of financial support will need to be same, if not greater, than that provided for the first lockdown earlier this year. This means grants for all pubs sufficient to cover ongoing fixed costs, and compensation grants for Britain’s brewers, who will also be permanently devastated by the lockdown.”
And CAMRA’s (Campaign for Real Ale) chairman, Nik Antona didn’t mince words either…
“A second lockdown is a devastating blow for an industry that is currently on its knees. Pubs have already invested thousands to re-open covid-safe environments, despite facing seriously reduced incomes.
“Simply put, the new lockdown couldn’t come at a worse time.”
And even though the government will still be supporting the sector’s furloughed employees’ wages to the tune of 80% according to Beer Today, that funding doesn’t address a multitude of expenditures, brewers, pub and bar owners are still on the hook for…
“If the government wishes to shut the hospitality sector it needs to provide a full financial package for the entire supply chain covering wages, rent, business rate holidays, VAT, and the destruction of beer that now needs to be poured away, direct to the UK’s independent breweries.”
And the hits just keep coming…
With England now locked down going into the holiday season, UK brewers, bar and pub owners are now facing an unprecedented ‘nightmare before Christmas’ that too many will not survive.