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Wed 17th Jun 2020 - More than 50 sector bosses write to PM demanding firm opening date by Friday
More than 50 sector bosses write to PM demanding firm opening date by Friday as research reveals businesses burning through £100m a month: More than 50 sector pub and brewing bosses have written to prime minister Boris Johnson demanding he confirms by Friday (19 June) exactly when all pubs will be able to reopen as new research revealed businesses are burning through £100m every month in cash while they remain closed. The companies include national and regional pub operators, who between them operate 20,000 pubs, along with international, regional, family and independent brewers. They say the sector has reached crisis point and needs a definitive date so they can get their pubs ready and ensure breweries are able to brew fresh draught beer for them. Without this certainty by the end of this week, many businesses in the sector will be forced to cut costs to ensure their survival through the extended period of financial uncertainty. This could result in hundreds of thousands of job losses and permanent pub closures. New figures also revealed by the British Beer & Pub Association also show unless pubs can reopen from 4 July as indicated in the government’s roadmap for economic recovery, changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cost pubs a further £120m. These costs, the trade association said, could tip many pubs over the edge unless they are given clarity and confidence on when exactly they can reopen. They are having to commit millions of pounds preparing their staff and venues for reopening, and to ensure customers are confident to return to them, despite a lack of confirmed guidance from the government for them to follow. Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of brewer and retailer Greene King, said: “Despite our best efforts to work with government and our significant investment to ensure the safety of our customers and team members, with under three weeks to go until the reopening date outlined in the government’s roadmap, we have neither the finalised safety guidelines or confirmation of the definitive reopening date. It’s incredibly frustrating for us and our people and we need government to make a clear decision now on allowing pubs to open from 4 July.” Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findlay added: “This week, I must decide whether we bring staff back from furlough and invest in the new safety protocols our pubs will require, as the safety of our guests and employees is paramount. I will not reopen our pubs before those protocols are in place. Without an immediate and definitive confirmation from government on timing, I can’t afford to bring our staff back to work to do that. It is critical for pubs to be open and trading over the summer, or many pubs will not reopen, and many more jobs will be lost. We need the government to commit to opening on 4 July – now.” Kevin Georgel, chief executive of Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery, said: “We’ve been forced to take a significant gamble by starting to brew draught beer again. With pubs potentially opening in less than three weeks, we’ve had no choice but to start brewing in preparation. If pubs are not allowed to open on 4 July this will be a huge and wasted cost to us, during a time that we are fighting for survival.” 

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