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Pubs left in limbo over July opening date, PM told

Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost and pubs could close permanently unless the Government confirms the July 4 date, industry warns.

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Publicans have called for clarity from the PM (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Publicans have called for clarity from the PM (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Publicans have called for clarity from the PM (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The pub industry is urging the Prime Minister to let them know by Friday if they can open next month instead of keeping them in “limbo.”

Chief executives of leading brewers and pub operators wrote to Boris Johnson to warn him that the sector has reached “crisis point” and needs to know that they can open from July 4.

The companies include international, regional, family and independent brewers, as well and national and regional pub operators who collectively brew 90% of the beer in Britain and own 20,000 pubs.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost and pubs could close permanently unless the Government confirms the July 4 date, the PM was warned.

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 July 4.Nick Mackenzie

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said pub and brewery businesses are burning through £100 million every month in cash whilst they remain closed.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “Britain’s 47,000 pubs and 2,000 brewers have reached a critical moment and need a definitive date on when pubs can reopen.

“Our sector is burning through £100 million a month just trying to survive with no cash coming in. That is simply not sustainable. We need a date now to give us confidence and clarity on when we will reopen.

“Without a confirmed date for reopening, our sector is going to have to make some big decisions this week on furloughed staff and when reopening is feasible, with a further wave of redundancies likely. Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost.

“Our message to the Prime Minister is clear: stop keeping our sector in limbo. Give us the clear date we need for reopening, so our great British pubs can be ready to return and support our communities and the economy once more. The livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of publicans and pub and brewery employees in every corner of the UK hang in the balance.”

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of pub operator and brewer 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 road map, 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 July 4.”

Kevin Georgel, chief executive of St Austell Brewery, said: “We’ve been forced to take a significant gamble by starting to brew draught beer again. We’re also investing in our pubs to ensure that we can reopen safely – with the necessary measures in place – on July 4, as outlined in the Government road map.”

Ralph Findlay, chief executive of Marston’s, said: “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.”

PA