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Sat 5th Jun 2021 - Pubs see trade down 20% on 2019 levels in first week of reopening indoors
Pubs see trade down 20% on 2019 levels in first week of reopening indoors: Pubs traded 20% lower in their first week of reopening indoors than the same period before the pandemic, according to the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA). The trade association said the fall in trade was because of restrictions and social distancing measures pubs have to implement, which are making them unviable as businesses. In a survey of its members, which own 20,000 of the UK’s pubs and supply many thousands more, the BBPA found turnover for the pub sector in the UK, as a whole, for the week of 17 May at 80% of the same period in 2019, despite 95% of UK pubs – some 45,000 sites – reopening to trade. The average pub in the UK turns over about £470,000 per year, meaning if trade continues to stay at 80% of normal, the average pub would lose £94,000 in turnover during the course of a year. With the average pint costing £3.81 in the UK, it would mean the average pub would need to sell 24,672 more pints over a year to make up that loss in turnover, the BBPA said. Currently, pubs are required to ensure one-metre-plus social distancing is in place, operate by table service-only and ensure face masks are worn other than when sat at a table inside or if outdoors. Group sizes are also limited indoors to just six people and bar or standing drinking is not permitted. As more and more individuals across the UK receive their vaccinations, the BBPA is urging the government to remove all restrictions in pubs on 21 June. It said this is needed because the damage the restrictions are having on the viability of pubs, brewers and hospitality businesses are impeding their recovery and threatening their very survival. The trade association has launched its “Countdown to Freedom” campaign, urging the government to remove restrictions on pubs and the wider hospitality sector on 21 June. The campaign will continue to highlight to government the cost and impact the remaining restrictions continue to have on the sector and remind ministers of their commitment to remove the restrictions on 21 June if its four tests are met. BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Pubs trade on incredibly small margins, so being 20% down on normal times is huge and incredibly concerning. What is especially worrying is that there was a lot of enthusiasm to visit the pub when they first reopened indoors. When that initial enthusiasm to return to the local cools down, trade could get even worse, leaving pubs unable to get beyond break even. Without restrictions removed, thousands of pubs remain unviable and could still be lost forever despite being back open for now.”

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