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BII’s reaction to the Prime Minister’s announcement on the tier structure post lockdown

Today's announcement from the Prime Minister signals further devastation for our already fragile sector. Whilst the relaxation of curfew is welcome to enable some businesses to trade over a greater period of time, the restructuring of the tiering system means that huge swathes of pubs across the country will now be faced with a crippling level of reduced trade.

Steven Alton, BII CEO said:

 “Pubs have been placed in an impossible situation, where the mixing of households indoors will again only be possible in Tier 1 areas, and those in Tier 2 will now have to provide a substantial meal to allow them to serve alcohol. The Rule of Six will only apply outdoors as before in Tier 2 and Tier 3 businesses cannot open at all, except to provide a takeaway service.

“With such a reduction in footfall for our venues, profitability will be wiped out in the month where so many pubs rely on higher incomes to see them through the winter and into the spring. These tougher restrictions mean that despite furlough continuing until March, thousands of businesses will be left unable to survive until they are allowed to reopen and trade more freely or provided with realistic levels of business support.

“In order for our sector to survive, we are demanding that Government compensates our unfairly targeted pubs for the loss of revenue that they will endure over this period. The alternative is that our vibrant and viable sector will simply not be around in 2021. Jobs will be lost in their millions, businesses will collapse and the essential community value that they deliver will be destroyed.

“The grants that have been awarded barely scratch the surface of the running costs of our venues, closed or open. There is now an urgent need for action to save the hospitality industry, and the package of measures must be at levels seen in other countries in Europe and beyond.

“Without immediate intervention, we anticipate infection rates rising further as people gather in homes and other settings, instead of our highly regulated and controlled hospitality environments.

“As we anticipate more of the country being taken into these higher tiers, the results of our most recent survey, which showed 75% of businesses becoming unviable by the middle of next year, will now be a huge under estimation.

"Our call to Government is clear and concise. Act now to save livelihoods and the heritage of our country's pubs, or lose them forever.”

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