Bacta chief executive John White has described national media stories claiming that pubs will remain closed until Christmas as nothing more than ‘unhelpful speculation.’
The story, which if accurate would be a devastating blow to the entire pub trade supply chain, came as Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove refused to rule out the possibility during a round of Sunday morning media interviews.
“Anyone claiming to know when pubs or indeed any other venue will reopen is engaging in unhelpful speculation” stated White. “Having said that, businesses of whatever stripe need to open as soon as they safely can. The hospitality and leisure sector has a unique challenge, namely to distance social interactions in venues which are designed for that purpose. Bacta is working with the pub sector as well as looking at AGCs and FECs to put in place protocols that achieve appropriate safety standards. This will allow government and the public to feel confident in the reopening of these venues at the appropriate time. Adding: “There is no doubt that support for the sector will have to continue well beyond the date that we reopen.”
Following the briefing, Frank Maguire from Truman’s brewery in London, told The Sun newspaper: “Things are looking pretty dire. At this rate it seems unlikely we will be open again before Christmas. Christmas is about as big as business gets for the pub industry. It will be a huge loss. January and February are dead months – without Christmas to carry us through, we will struggle. It will be a very glum start to 2021.” He continued: “We’ve got the added blow of missing out on the Euros this year. Every England game is worth millions to the industry.”