The BBPA is leading the planning process by which the sector can get started again once the immediate COVID-19 crisis has passed.
The trade association has said that pubs will need a minimum of three weeks, but ideally four weeks, notice for the lifting of the lockdown restrictions to allow them sufficient time prepare to re-open. Brewers will also need this time to scale-up brewing operations to start re-supplying pubs and the on-trade with fresh beer.
This time frame would enable pubs to give sufficient notice to furloughed staff that they are required to return to work. It would also ensure equipment and systems are operating and cleaned to necessary standards, as well as enabling the clearance of pub cellars and the replacement of beer. This would in turn require some relaxation of social distancing measures ahead of a full re-opening in order that clearance crews can operate effectively.
Beer and pubs can play a vital role in boosting morale in the UK, but the Government need to work with the sector to support the necessary preparations to ensure that a restart can take place as smoothly, safely and sustainably as possible. Such measures will help ensure that pubs survive the early months of re-opening, the trade association has said.
The early weeks and months after lockdown restrictions are lifted will be critical for tens of thousands of pubs, and their supply chains, including access to working capital, particularly for SMEs. The economic value that Britain’s beer and pub sector provides, and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it support, will remain in a precarious position if the lifting of lockdown for pubs isn’t done right, which is why the BBPA has already begun outlining its plans.
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “It is extremely important that the beer and pub industry are closely consulted on the lifting of the lockdown restrictions when the COVID-19 crisis is over. The reopening process for the pub trade will be enormously hard and it’s imperative the Government work with the trade to get it right, else the situation would see even more pubs close.
“We want to work collaboratively with Government to ensure that society and the economy gets back on its feet in a safe and sustainable way once the medical and scientific advice indicates that a reopening is appropriate and with appropriate support in place. We believe the pub has a key role to play in this, but re-opening them must be done in the right way, which is why we are leading on these plans to get pubs ready for when the lockdown is lifted.”