Tuesday, 20 Apr 2021

Pubs slam ‘triple whammy’ of Covid rules for reopening which ‘threaten survival’

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Industry leaders within the hospitality sector have slammed a "triple whammy" of Covid restrictions which they say will threaten "the very survival of thousands of businesses".

When pubs reopen on April 12, every single punter aged over 16 will be forced to sign in to the venue – rather than just one member of a big group as was the case last year.

It is also unclear whether payment at the bar will be permitted – meaning pubs in rural areas or with poor broadband could face difficulty facing payments when venues open outdoors-only.

And in a third hit, pub bosses have criticised Government plans to introduce vaccine passports from June 21, requiring punters to have either been jabbed or provide proof of a negative test.

UK Hospitality [UKH], the British Beer & Pub Association [BBPA] and the British Institute of Innkeepers [BII[ branded the measures as "impractical burdens".

In a joint statement, the pub representatives said: "Government has promised the country that we will be reopening but we are now being told that this will be with our hands tied behind our backs.

"It now seems the hospitality industry could be burdened with vaccine passports, over-complicated test and trace rules and an inability not able to take payments indoors at reopening – a triple whammy for hard-pressed publicans who have been forcibly closed for months.

"Pubs will already be trading at a loss when they reopen with all the existing restrictions and Covid-secure measures in place.

"Adding further disproportionate and discriminatory measures threatens the very survival of thousands of businesses.

"It's unfair to single out our sector again with these added impractical burdens that will have economic consequences and risk our recovery."

Carl Ford, an accountant based in Tamworth, Staffordshire, told the BBC he was frustrated and confused by the rules.

"I feel like it's almost like going back to school where I have to sign in and out," he said.

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"I don't understand why I have to do this in a restaurant or pub, but I don't need to do this in a supermarket where you have a free for all. People don't have to sign in and they can pick up fruit with their hands."

A government spokeswoman said: "Public health rules are kept under constant review and we are providing as much flexibility for pubs and other hospitality businesses as possible.

"The roadmap [to reopening] set out that hospitality would open from step two, and removed any requirements for curfews or a substantial meal for customers."

She said no final decisions had been taken on whether Covid-status certification could play a role in reopening the economy.

  • Pubs
  • Lockdown
  • Coronavirus

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